Syrian convergence at the Moscow table
The title might seem complicated, but it is the diplomatic path for the times ahead.
Let me put it clause-by-clause.
- Today, Moscow is the most important center where the word of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is taken seriously.
- Turkey is starting official contacts with Moscow next week.
- Solving the crisis between Turkey and Russia will bring forth new normalizations.
- At the top of these normalizations are Syria and Egypt.
If you add the normalization with Israel to this, then it means that the peace bridge has been built.
Where were we?
A very important meeting was held at Sochi in September 2015. It was between then Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The topic of the meeting was Syria.
During this critical Sochi meeting, these significant decisions were made:
- In Syria, the state structure with all its institutions will be protected.
- The secular structure will continue. Sectarianism will not be allowed.
- The territorial integrity of Syria will be preserved.
The importance of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s statement, when he said Turkey’s friendships would be increased and enemies would be decreased, as a matter of fact, stands out at this point.
When viewed from this perspective, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will not only be a bilateral meeting between Turkey and Russia.
This meeting will be beyond the crisis with Russia; it will be the start of an era when new equilibriums in the region will be discussed and even decided.
In other words, a platform for normalization with Syria will be built.
In the 2015 Turkey-Russia meetings, the decisions reached were also shared with the United States. Even the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was discussed.
Thus, it is far from seeing the whole picture if we regard the results of Erdoğan’s meeting with Putin and the meetings between delegations as only “Russian tourists are coming.” As a matter of fact, it minimizes the picture.
In the period ahead of us, there is also the normalization process with Egypt. The convergence of Turkey and Russia is also influential from this point of view.
Again with Damascus
Turkey’s stance is clear: It cannot go on with the al-Assad regime in Syria. However, Russia wants a democratic solution in the country with the approval of al-Assad. Thus Russia will convey and suggest the decisions reached in meetings with Turkey to al-Assad. Consequently, Turkey will convey and recommend the decisions reached in these meetings to Syrian opposition groups. Indeed, with the participation of the U.S.
All of this demonstrates that those who want to extract a second state from Syria by taking advantage of the Turkey-Russia crisis, those who want to export the canonization ambitions to Turkey and those, encouraged by Russia, who attempt to conduct an operation in Manbij with outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)/Democratic Union Party (PYD) ties will all be in vain.
However you slice it, convergence in the Turkish-Russian relationship is beyond the economic interests of the two countries; it is significant for restructuring “regional balances.”
After these meetings, a joint operation against terror can be expected. This is the resumption process of the Geneva peace talks on Syria.