Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation, recently talked to Sputnik where he condemned Turkey’s continued illegal presence in Syria.
With some many world-powers complicit in looking the other way at Turkey’s illegal war on Syria.
Here are five reasons that Turkey must leave.
- International Law
The first and foremost reason that Turkey should not be in Syria is that legally, Turkey cannot be in Syria. The Syrian Arab Republic is a sovereign state and Turkish presence is not welcomed by the Syrian government nor does Turkey have any sanction for their invasion by the United Nations.
Ali Haidar said quite clearly,
“Our stance on the presence of Turkish military forces has not changed. This is the violation of the sovereignty and occupation of Syria”.
As allies, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah forces have been welcomed to coordinate their war on terror with Damascus. This is not true of Turkey and their fellow NATO member states.
- Bad Intentions
Where Syria’s actual allies are helping to bring stability to a country besieged by a plethora of terrorist groups, whose names and local allegiances constant shift, Turkey has had two goals in Syria, neither of which are productive, let alone moral.
Turkey first of all wanted to push for illegal regime change in Damascus, something which the Turks now quietly concede is an impossibility.
The second reason Turkey is involved is to weaken the position of Kurdish YPG forces in Syria. Turkey wants to create an effective buffer zone in both Iraq and Syria between Kurdish positions in the two Arab states and Kurdish regions of Turkey. This is why both the Syrian government and Syrian Kurds are uniquely united in condemning Turkey’s presence in the country.
- Working With Jihadists
Because there isn’t political will among ordinary Turkish citizens for a mass invasion, Turkey is in great part relying on rag-tag jihadists who when fighting for Turkey call themselves the Free Syrian Army, a name first assigned to a group of mainly US funded marauders in 2011. The original group disappeared shortly after its creation.
But the current FSA is more or less a byword for jihadists loyal to and funded by Turkey. Whether standing under an Al-Sura, ISIS or FSA flag, there is little difference in the intention, ideology or methods of these vile groups.
- Undermining Arab Independence
President Erdogan is well known to have Ottoman ambitions. This has led him to threaten not only Greece and Cyprus but also the Arab world which the Ottoman Sultan once ruled. Arabs fought long and hard to establishment their independence in the 20th century. The long fight was more recently against European powers, but prior to that it was a struggle against Ottoman rule.
To add insult to injury, Turkey is now accusing Iran of what Turkey is doing, namely trying to gain a foothold in the Arab world. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Iran of trying to spread Shi’a Islam to Syria and Iraq, echoing the lie about a ‘Shi’a Crescent’.
Meanwhile President Erdogan accused Iran of trying to spread Persian Nationalism in the Arab world.
Although I have been critical of Iran’s role in Iraq, a role made possible only through the illegal US-UK invasion, in Syria, Iran has exercised restraint. Iran respects for Syria’s government and Syria’s secular way of life. The same cannot be said of Ankara.
By contrast, it is Turkey who is arming radical Sunni groups who put the lives of Shi’a Muslims, moderate Sunni Muslims and Christians in peril. It is Turkey’s President who shouts about restoring Ottoman provinces. No such words nor indications of direct actions come out of Tehran.
- Turkey’s Domestic Problems
With Erdogan facing problems on the home front, he really cannot afford his foreign adventures in Syria, not least because ISIS has been doing a strangely good job at keeping Turkish forces and their unreliable terrorist FSA at bay, although Turkey’s current (if not temporary) victory in Al-Bab may give Erdogan some buoyancy.
Between Gulenists, ISIS and Al-Qaeda sympathisers in Turkey, resurgent Kurdish PKK forces and Kemalists distraught by Erdogan’s increasing disregard for the traditions of modern Turkey, he simply cannot afford the giant distraction that his Syrian adventure has become. He ought to quit. Better late than never.