Establishing Syria buffer zone means engaging in war
No one should try to find any form of an excuse; it is aggression - to say the least - and definitely occupation, if the military of a country, for whatever purpose it might be, enters into the territory of another country without the invitation or permission of that country, or in the absence of a treaty allowing such an action.
One might come up with a “preemptive strategic move to prevent an all-out war” excuse. Or, it might be argued that Turkey would never ever allow Kurds to complete carving up a “Kurdish state” right on the Turkish border with Syria. In order to stop such an “adventure,” Ankara might be ready to risk undertaking an even bigger adventure and enter into Syria. Can anyone consider such an action as being in Turkey’s legitimate self-defense? Or would not such an undertaking amount to pulling Turkey into the war in Syria, making the country a party of the war that unfortunately Ankara has been helping to grow bigger for the past years by abetting terrorists anyhow?
It is no secret that the military objected to the government’s plans, warning of both the short- and long-term consequences. They tried to explain - of course within limits of democratic governance and the principle of elected-appointed code of conduct - why indulging into such an adventure might produce some grave outcomes for the country. Yet, the tall, bold, bald and ever angry man yelling at anyone has been determined for the past many years anyhow to undertake such an adventure and probably believed this was the most opportune moment for it. The military wanted further talks and a written order. Why should it not?Was it not this same army that went through the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer thrillers masterminded by the government of the tall man? Who knows, perhaps a few years later, today’s no longer full but still considerably powerful generals may stand in front of another Silivri court together with hundreds of officers to explain why such unfortunate things totally incompatible with international law indeed happened in the country.
Apparently, not only written order was issued by the short guy temporarily sitting in the presumably chief executive seat and the National Security Council (NSC) reviewed the developments. NSC discussions are top secret and should not be leaked. Yet, it is well understood in the political and bureaucratic spheres of power in Ankara that the military continued to be unhappy with civilian plans, yet would abide with written orders and if action is asked, would start implementing the already prepared operation plans. That is what ought to be the case in any democracy anyhow.
Where is Turkey’s interest? Is it indeed in Turkey’s interest to plunge itself into a civil war in Syria? What does Turkey want, an increase in the amount of “Syrian guests” in Turkey? There are already over two million Syrian people in Turkey. If a two-kilometer deep buffer zone is established on a section of the border with Syria adjacent to the town of Kilis, could Turkey convert that buffer zone into a safe haven for displaced Syrians? No… Only the Kurds will be prevented from physically linking the Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish regions. Is that the aim? Was this why the tall man was yelling the other day that Turkey will not allow the creation of a Kurdish state on its border with Syria?
If the Kurds are to be pushed back in that region by the Turkish military, how would the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) gang be fought? The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has become a nuance in that region. Only Kurds are resisting the spread of ISIL. Would Turkey fight with ISIL?
Apparently the “engagement rules” were changed as well and the Turkish military would no longer allow ISIL to plant mines, or harass civilians just a few meters away from Turkish military outposts in Syrian territory. No one is of course asking why in those sad photographs the Turkish military was watching idly while ISIL militants were laying mines along the border? Was there a need to change the “engagement rules” and besides the Syrian military declare ISIL as a “threat” as well? Was not ISIL a threat until the “engagement rules” were changed?
Turkey needs to restore its governance. 13-years of arbitrary rule by the man with absolute power devastated all principles and norms. Foreign policy is in an awful state. “No enemies” became “all enemies” while “peace at home, peace abroad” turned into “confrontation everywhere.” Creating a 110-kilometer long, few kilometers deep “buffer zone” into Syria would mean declaring war on Syria, making Turkey an active element of the calamity there. And who will do this? A temporary government and generals who will retire in few weeks’ time, in August? Why can’t such a decision be left to the next government and new top commanders? Why this rush? Is someone trying to make the best use of the transition period in Turkey?
Turkey should not volunteer to step into the Syrian fire.