Which is worse: Al-Assad, YPG or ISIL?
Now is the time to confront our Syrian policy. It cannot be delayed any more. This is not only because Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu recently said “we will coordinate our Syrian policy with Russia.” It is because the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) immediately tried to fill the void left by the ongoing recovery in our relationships with Russia and Israel.
Which is the biggest threat for us in Syria: Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) or ISIL? Who is a terrorist and who is not in Syria? The agreement with Russia and the ISIL terrorism that has hit us has brought this question into sharp relief.
In which political solution could Turkey meet halfway Russia against the ISIL? The urgency of the situation calls for a new Syrian policy to be formed by Ankara.
The government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are surely aware of the criticisms of “backpedaling” to come from the opposition. But it is for the good of Turkey that they have risked this criticism, shaken hands with Russia, and taken steps to recover ties with Israel. The government must have calculated the rest.
Is there a game plan behind all this? What will be done, which steps will be taken, and in which order. This all must have been prepared. Or has it?
I hope so. In the end, it is no more easy to remake our Syrian policy than it is to tone down tension with Russia and Israel.
But the issue that should not be forgotten in all this confusion is: Will ISIL’s cruelty force us to change our stance toward al-Assad and the YPG?
We are being pushed for a radical reconsideration of our Syrian policy. Think about ISIL’s Istanbul massacre from this point of view.
France was forced to agree to al-Assad staying in power with the stick of ISIL. Could the same effect be created over Turkey? Hasn’t ISIL acted as a functional tool for influence in the Paris and Brussels massacres?
Hasn’t it been like a tool to open the eyes of those who were hard to convince about which one was more evil? Perhaps it was a kind of tool to hide al-Assad’s massacres with barrel bombs, a tool to cover them up with the massacres of another pack of murderers.
Will ISIL’s spine-chilling atrocities erase the barrel bomb atrocities of the Damascus regime? Will it force people to choose between one of two barbarisms: That of al-Assad or that of ISIL?
One of the two barbarisms is directly hitting us. The other is the butcher of other innocent people in Syria.
Which one hurts more? Which is more dangerous? Which is scarier to you? The elimination of which one is a bigger priority?
We have been massacred by ISIL. We have been shaken by the accursed attack of an enemy that came all the way to Atatürk Airport. This has a high potential to persuade us that al-Assad is the lesser evil.
Is the ISIL inside our borders the prioritized enemy? Or is it al-Assad and the YPG outside our borders? Which evil do you choose to prioritize? There is no “none of the above” option. One of the options will see us end up siding with al-Assad and the YPG to fight against ISIL. If so, let’s say it.
These shocking massacres are dragging us to a final choice, just like the entire West: Between the evils of al-Assad and the evils of ISIL.
We have to confront this. It seems that our only option is to take our place against ISIL in the joint front together with Russia and its local allies.