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ERTUĞRUL ÖZKÖK

ERTUĞRUL ÖZKÖK >Is it already time to sit at the table with Syria’s al-Assad?

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Two interesting developments occurred in our neighbor Syria on the day our National Football Team beat Croatia and rose to third place in their group in the World Championship play-offs. 

The national football team of Syria, which has fallen into pieces in its sixth year of civil war, fell 2-2 with Iran and won the right to participate in the eliminations for the World Championship play-offs.

This victory was celebrated with joyful demonstrations on the streets of Damascus.
These celebrations can also be regarded as the first photographs marking the end of the civil war in Syria.

Yes, a World Champion team came out of the ruins of war.

On the same day, troops under Syria’s Bashar al-Assad’s command took back a region that had been controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for three years.

One day later, the United Nations stated the troops of Assad used nerve gas in Idlib.

The U.N. also stated that until today, 33 different kinds of chemical weapons were used in the civil war in Syria and seven of them were used by the Assad regime between March and July.

This means that in the civil war, there are also those who use chemical weapons among the opponent groups against Assad. Only, this statement alone already shows the size of the human tragedy.

The war in Syria is almost coming to its end.
Aside from us, the whole world has understood this reality very well.
The best solution with regard to world peace is if the Assad regime takes back control over the country again.

This historical tragedy showed everyone that every region the regime could not control was seized by ISIL or Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra.

This is a mindset that cuts heads, burns people alive and makes women sex slaves.

Just like in the beginning of the war, today I am still writing with the same realism.
It is time for Turkey to sit at the table with the al-Assad regime and start discussions.

The question to be put forward will then be: “Are we going to sit at the same table with the butcher of Syria?”

I know very well what reaction those, dreaming of “performing prayers at the Emevi Mosque in Damascus” will give to my writing.

They will say: “Are we going to sit at the same table with the man who killed 200,000 Muslims in Syria and used chemical weapons?”

My answer is ready: “Those who met al-Bashir, the butcher of Darfur who killed 200,000 people in Sudan, with a ceremony by the state at the Atatürk Airport and welcomed him like a king in Turkey, may as well sit at the same table with Assad.”

What it takes is to put the interests of our country above your egos.

Observations of Erbil


It is a big loss for me to see journalists such as Cengiz Çandar and Fehim Taştekin out of mainstream media when the whole world’s attention is on the Middle East.

Luckily enough, Taştekin writes on the website “İlke Haber” and I follow him closely.

Taştekin has gone to Erbil and wrote a very interesting article there at a time when we were all curious about the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) referendum.

I will share with you the most interesting lines of this article.

The Kurdish are stuck in the triangle of “yes,” “no” and “boycott.” 

In the first group, there are those who see the answer “yes” as “Kurdishness” and “patriotism,” and “no” as “the betrayal to the dream of Kurdistan.”

On the other hand, there are those who believe the timing is wrong and it is an effort to cover the failures of KRG President Massoud Barzani.

Even more interesting is there are those who believe a conspiracy theory, the referendum is a trick by Turkey, in an attempt to make Kurdistan a “second Cyprus.”

In another group, there are people who say regional actors are pushing the independence project so it fails, as the KRG will hold the referendum without being prepared.

September/08/2017

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