Turkish opposition CHP’s role on path to Syrian solution

Turkish opposition CHP’s role on path to Syrian solution

In a surprise and highly secretive visit to neighboring Syria, deputies from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) met with embattled and deeply isolated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the expense of harsh criticism and even attacks from the government-led anti-al-Assad camp. 

During his meeting with CHP deputies, al-Assad touched upon many crucial issues ranging from the volatile borders, which he said are now being controlled by Kurdish militants and al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, to how top Turkish officials and their Qatari counterparts are trying to capitalize on the Syrian crisis. 

There are two important aspects of the CHP delegation’s visit to the Syrian leader, who reportedly invited them to visit Damascus. First, it showed the CHP is moving beyond its self-proclaimed recent revival to its passive foreign policy drive with diving deeper into regional as well as international issues. After years of staying remote to the world’s events, which also shaped a distant foreign policy drive of Turkey until the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) now fruitless “zero problem policy” with neighbors push, the CHP now wants to be positioned in the eyes of not only its voters but the region’s public as if it is concerned and involved in the regional crises. 

The recent visit to al-Assad was not the first but it came at a time when many vocal al-Assad opponents, both at home and abroad, acknowledged the Syrian leader did last longer than their regime change projections in Damascus. Furthermore, the same anti-al-Assad camp also now realized, although perhaps not publicly, that the so-called “Arab Spring” would not end up with the ouster of the man in charge - at least not at the moment or near future. 

Moving from the CHP’s regional aspirations to its role on the path toward a real solution to the Syrian crisis, the visit also came as slim hopes have been appearing for the diplomatic choice to the Syrian crisis as the Syrian opposition discouraged by the frustrated Western nations’ support to them inched toward the negotiation table. If those who admitted their Syria dreams without al-Assad would not come true in the upcoming days are sincere over their public concerns of seeing stability turning to Syria, then the channels for a lively talks between the regime and opposition must be opened in any way necessary. 

But if their actual desire for Syria is to keep to violent status quo there, which al-Assad says is the real aim of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, so he can further survive and adopt his Islamist agenda in Syria, and to see the country suffer more from the Civil War, then the CHP made grave “mistake” with its visit to al-Assad. Their visit to the Syrian leader gave the “persona non grata” declared by the AKP government a chance to reach the public opinion in Turkey and to make his case against the growing international accusations led by Ankara. The CHP’s “grave” mistake has also declared the al-Assad regime as the required negotiation partner in would-be talks to end the crisis in Syria, therefore the party is now facing accusations of allying with a “villain” after it was long accused of being the “Baath of Turkey.”

Despite a fierce campaign against the CHP over their overture to a regime in a neighboring country, the main opposition insistence on the fact that it is at the same distant to both parties, Damascus and rebels, might not lead the way for “solution-seekers” to the Syrian crisis. However, should a resolution to the catastrophic war be wanted for Syria, then the way the CHP has taken would not be entirely wrong since a peace did and obviously would not be settled through the rhetoric of war.
Turkish opposition CHP’s role on path to Syrian solution