The naughty seven dwarfs and the evil Snow White
It was exactly four years ago, in August 2012, and Turkey’s foreign minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoğlu, was answering the questions of journalists İsmet Berkan and Cengiz Çandar on a live show on broadcaster NTV. In his analysis based on the depths of strategy he made forecasts and gave a calendar: “We have tried all the alternatives in Syria and have reached these days, but I don’t think this painful period will last too long. This period should be spoken of not in years but in months or maybe in weeks…”
The precision of that forecast is clear…
In October 2015, Turkey’s prime minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoğlu, while answering questions from the press on board a plane to the eastern province of Van, upon a question on claims Turkey’s signature was on a transition period in Syria including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said: “No, there is no signature of Turkey in question. The issue is not a transition including al-Assad; it is the exit formula for al-Assad…”
Well, as a matter of fact, in September 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned, “There could be something like an option maybe with al-Assad in the transition period in Syria.” Three days later Davutoğlu responded in New York: “We hold the opinion that al-Assad presiding [over] the transition period will make the transition period not a transition period. We believe this situation will make a permanent status quo. Our opinion has not changed in this aspect.”
Let me warn you at this point, my dear readers, and our dear proofreader colleagues, when Erdoğan was pronouncing the name of the Syrian president insistently with a different vowel while Davutoğlu was stuck with the conventional pronunciation, this was interpreted as a “meaningful” split between them by the “pelicans” and the “hawks.”
Within this context, it is also good to take a look at what Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Aug. 20, when he spoke to representatives of the foreign press. He said, “We are thinking that in the future of Syria, there should not be [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK, [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL] DAEŞ or al-Assad for peace to be fully established there. But, whether we like it or not, one of the actors now is al-Assad…”
In time, whatever Turkey did not want in Syria has occurred; the opposite of whatever Turkey wanted.
Different alliances were set up; at times the hawk costume at other times the costume of the peace dove were put on. However at the end of the day nothing beyond political wreckage was left, consisting of major rifts, disappointments and giant errors.
The “we will hold the Friday prayers at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus” or “we will arrive in Damascus in three hours” proclamations were blown to the waste facility of unfortunate statements of history by the winds of time.
As of Aug. 24, Turkey has cast a new role for itself. We can only hope for the best for the country.
However, let us remember a last statement before we disperse quietly and cause no incidents…
What was Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş saying the other day? He described Ankara’s Syria policy as “a source of many sufferings for Turkey today.”
We will, of course, not criticize this policy because it does not belong to those who have been ruling the country for 14 years, but rather to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!