Sooner or later, Erdoğan will force al-Assad to choose
Once a regime starts plummeting, it is difficult to stop it. Whether it lasts a few months or a few years, people today cannot live under the shadow of violence.
The Friends of Syria meeting did not yield the results Turkey wanted. Erdoğan this time completely shouldered the role of regional leader and tried to collect major support for the Syrian opposition. Much tougher and much sharper decisions were expected.
It did not happen. It is natural that it did not. Everyone needs time.
There is a presidential election in the United States, and no one can move in Washington until after the election. Europe has not been able to recover from the crisis yet, and it does not want to start a Syrian adventure. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf countries also need time, because they have not yet completed their domestic tasks.
As a matter of fact, Turkey is in no big rush. It is out of the question that it would act alone. The Syrian opposition should be able to unite and persuade the Russia-Iran-China triangle to its side.
Therefore, the Istanbul meeting has gained time for al-Assad, but has not helped strengthen his position.
No Serdar, it wasn’t a disgrace
Daily HaberTürk columnist Serdar Turgut, in his Saturday column titled “This was a bit of a disgrace, Birand,” said I was doing the police an injustice by criticizing their response to demonstrators. He said it is the responsibility of the police to stop unpermitted demonstrations, and the police should respond fiercely to provocations. He said I have also been pulled into the provocateurs’ game by criticizing the approach of the police. He gave examples, especially from Germany, saying, “Look at the broken heads and arms over there.”
I don’t think it was a disgrace. I am among those who are opposed to our police using exaggerated force from time to time. The police aggravate incidents when they respond with violence to groups who otherwise would easily be persuaded. I am against police who club bloodthirstily and hit cruelly. In Turkey, other than on a few exceptional occasions, police responses are generally tough and brutal. I am against this. Otherwise, I’m not saying the police should only watch people who are smashing windows or torching cars and buses.
The level of civilization in a country is involuntarily reflected by the general manner of its police. Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. Let’s take into consideration those demonstrations that have ended peacefully, those which with the police have not interfered, and let’s see the results.
I know very well that the Turkish police have to work under difficult conditions and from time to time under supervisors who want to show off. I am aware they are not able to stand up for their rights. My problem is with supervisors who are ostentatious and who exaggerate their power.