Our Disappointment in Erdogan!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Sun 18 December / Dec 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The unfolding Aleppo situation is not a passing event, nor is it a “pivot point” in the discourse of the Syrian conflict, weighing in favour of one party over the other; it is a dramatic shift in the Arab social and cultural situation in general. Prime of all the many concerns of the Arab populace is what we can call the “disappointment” in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Certainly, the Russian-Iranian alliance would not have militarily succeeded had the massive turn in Turkish positions not taken place, particularly following the failed military coup, and the series of undisclosed Turkish-Russian accords, for which price Aleppo —most probably— was paid.

The Syrian and Arab popular shock in Erdogan’s position was not per say a result of shifts in the Turkish positions; no, but rather because of the illusive expectations Arabs usually build on. Whoever kept their eyes keen on the Turkish situation and the crises that surrounded president Erdogan, both domestically and on the foreign frontiers, to the point that Erdogan himself became trapped and periled on all fronts, would realise that the Turkish turn was both inevitable and evident, with or without the failed coup, which only escalated the shift and widened its scope.

The transformation was evident, and was highlighted by a Turkish researcher, close to the regime there, months before the coup, during a lecture at the Strategic Studies Centre at the University of Jordan, stating that there is (back then) an undergoing revaluation of the Turkish position within the Turkish decision halls, due to a rising conviction that the previously adopted approach did not benefit, but rather did noticeably hurt, Turkish interests.

The “previous” approach saw the momentous Russian intervention, which more or less flipped the tables of the Syrian situation around, followed by the Russian aircraft shot right out of the sky, with Turkey secluded in the face of the Russian-Iranian alliance, and a realisation of the Western evasive approach, opposed by the triviality of Arab efforts and their unreliability, fitted by the disintegration of the Syrian opposition; all that, topped by the military coup attempt, only reinforced the conviction and reiterated indices of danger, point to a tightening noose around Erdogan’s neck, supporting his fears of European and Western agendas against Turkey.

It was unsustainable, realistically speaking, for Erdogan or any other Turkish president, to maintain course, given the global and regional exclusion on one hand and the frailty of the internal frontier on the other. And because the political dynamic mainly involves the constant rearrangement of priorities, Erdogan chose to face up to Fethullah Gülen’s movements inside, then the Kurds, which inevitably prefaced the Russian accords, even agreements with the Americans, in regards to addressing the situation in Aleppo and the northern outskirt, as well as the relations with the Kurds in Syria.

Despite all the shifts constituted, the Turkish crisis remains far from over; foreign relations are weighed with doubt and distrust, while the internal frontier is unsettled, at a time of intensifying confrontations with the Kurds and Daesh, aka ISIS, which have been very costly.

In the end, Erdogan will not turn out to be more Arab or Syrian than the Arabs and Syrians themselves, nor is he willing to lead a suicide operation in Syria that would cost him everything! More importantly, Erdogan’s domestic and foreign tools are not strong enough to sustain his political positions. And it is not at all reasonable to hold the man responsible for the collapse of the Syrian opposition, nor will it be any more logical to claim that the shift in the Turkish position is the sole factor behind the unfolding of Aleppo; as decisive as it is, it cannot be excluded from the general context of events in Syria, wherein the Syrian opposition itself shares a chunk of the blame for mistakes in Aleppo, as well as in other areas.

So far, regardless of it all, no place the Syrian opposition could turn to would pillar a better position that Turkey’s; both politically and humanitarianly, even in regards to addressing the Aleppo percussions, compared to the impotent Arab stance!

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