The presidential jet’s most popular journalist on Turkey’s Syria policy U-turn

The presidential jet’s most popular journalist on Turkey’s Syria policy U-turn

A very interesting development took place the other day: A prominent pro-government journalist, who has until recently been an unconditional supporter of Turkey’s Syria policy, suddenly switched sides.

Indeed, this individual is among the cadre of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s A330 jet. 

Last May, pro-government daily Türkiye columnist Fatih Selek wrote a nice analytical article titled “The journalists in the presidential plane.” In it, Selek examined 26 photographs taken inside the presidential jet between September 2014 and May 2017. He produced a list of which journalists and which newspapers were invited onto the A330, as well as how many times.

One of the journalists most frequently invited to join President Erdoğan’s foreign visits is İbrahim Karagül, the editor-in-chief of daily Yeni Şafak. 

Karagül has been with the president in the A330 on 10 visits in two years. He was also for years among the fiercest defenders of Turkey’s Syria policy, which has only ended in total fiasco. Now, Karagül has decided that Ankara’s Syria policy now has to change. 

We have to get rid of our obsession on al-Assad

Let’s take a look at what he wrote just the other day.

Apparently, the sectarian policy has ended: “As soon as possible, we have to find possible ways to save us from the sectarian crisis that has the potential to turn the whole region into a wreck,” wrote Karagül. 

The slogan “fight against terror” has collapsed: “It is impossible to understand speaking with abstract, meaningless sentences like ‘the fight against terror” which are far from reality. There is no longer a concept like the ‘fight against terror.’”

The policy of toppling Syrian President al-Assad has collapsed: “We need to redefine where we stand in Syria. In addition to strengthening our relations with Baghdad, we need to get rid of our obsessions and bury all our anger against the Damascus administration.”

The policy of dividing Syria has failed: “We should take steps that will keep Syria as a whole, not leaving it to the occupation of the United States. I am talking about the fact that at the moment Syria is divided, the process of Turkey’s division will also be started.”

I have been writing about the catastrophe of Turkey’s Syria policy for the past five years. It is not now me who is writing about taking a radical U-turn from the current Syria policy. 

It seems that a wise way forward is now being voiced from inside the A330 aircraft.

Turkey is terribly cornered in Idlib

Meanwhile, on just the other side of our border in Syria, al-Qaeda has settled in Idlib. This is a tremendously bad situation for Turkey.

If Americans end up saving Idlib from al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, then ultimately it will be the Syrian Kurds and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that will settle in this region.

If Idlib is saved by the Russians then it will mean that al-Assad’s forces will enter to retake the region.
Either eventuality means the collapse of Turkey’s Syrian policy.