Turkey cannot form a buffer zone without the US

Turkey cannot form a buffer zone without the US

When compared to Syria, Turkey it is both a bigger and a stronger country. Especially in a conventional war, no comparison is possible between the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Syrian Army. However, let’s leave aside comparisons, which could be misleading, and let’s talk about a dangerous probability that would very much disappoint us all.

Such a scenario is being discussed among the public and among experts: “The number or refugees coming from Syria is increasing. The bombings near the border are not stopping. To avoid a major war, the TSK wants to form a buffer zone along the border and solve these problems.” This is being seriously discussed and we believe that such a scenario could easily come to pass.

Yes, it is true that the TSK could enter Syrian territory in such a way that a buffer zone would be formed. It could cross the border with tanks, artillery and weapons and set up a buffer zone. It could be done, to control this land, all along the 900 kilometers of the border, even though it would be very difficult, but it also would not be adequate.

Turkey would need to take control of the zone thus formed from the air also. In other words, if we do not want the Syrian Air Force to fly over the buffer zone and strike Turkish forces on the ground, then the Turkish Air Force would have to patrol constantly. And the problem stems from that.

Syria has a very strong air-defense system. It has a radar net made in Russia, the one it had purchased to use against Israel. Connected to that system, it has 400 Scud C or D short- and medium-range missiles, as well as its own missile development program supported by Iran and Iraq.

I do not want to go into detail here. What I’m saying is that Turkey’s capabilities would not be adequate to protect the buffer zone from the air or to ban Syrian planes. In short, Turkey cannot manage this alone. It is only the United States that could deactivate Syria’s radar and missile system.

Print media are making a mistake
For a while, a crisis has been erupting between the print media and the Internet and television. You may not have noticed it, but 20 newspapers, maybe for the first time, have banded together and issued a patronizing declaration, introducing bans.

Supposedly the mission of the media is to be democratic, to fight against bans, but this group has shown that they are even more prohibitive than the state. With a typical Turkish approach, instead of finding a compromise, they simply said, “We have banned it.”

The problem is that certain websites (not all of them) run content from newspapers and articles written by newspaper writers as they are. The 20 newspapers said, “It is us who pay for the news and the writer, and invest huge amounts, whereas you take that story and the article and run it as-is, without paying five kuruş. You set up an Internet site with three or four people and make money. You are exploiting us.” These papers not only banned the Internet sites, they also introduced a ban on all television news channels. This is like cutting off the water for some news sites on the Internet and on television news.

Now, it is banned to show newspapers onscreen, or even to show their headlines or the titles of articles by newspaper writers. These newspapers could have told news channels, “You may show some of our articles, but not all of them, under a large logo representing the source.” News stories cannot be banned anyway; anyone can repeat a news story, citing its source.

The newspapers should not forget that the future is with the Internet and television news channels. The printed media cannot survive with these kinds of bans.