Unrealistic policies created our problems

Unrealistic policies created our problems

There is only one reason for all our problems stemming from Syria today: When the first protests started in Syria, Turkey was not able to make a sound evaluation. 

The possible outcomes of a civil war erupting in Syria were not correctly predicted. The first and biggest mistake was that it was determined the current regime would immediately collapse.   

That means either Turkey’s intelligence gathering on Syria was weak or those who assessed the intelligence, whoever they were, were inadequate. 

We already know there was such a prediction. The prime minister and foreign minister of the time, remember, said they would be conducting their prayers at the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus in two weeks. 

The risks created by the regime if it did not collapse immediately were not calculated correctly either.

This colossal refugee flow was not predicted and other risks which could have been caused by the collapse of the state authority in Syria were not scrutinized. 

The inner power balances within the opposition forces in Syria were also wrongly projected. 

It was not thought that jihadist groups would dominate the opposition in a short time, or that because of forces like al-Nusra, which would likely irritate a major portion of the world, that the West’s support for the Syrian opposition would be restricted.  

It was also not calculated that a group like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would totally change the borders in the region, or how much Russia would risk to protect its most important bases in the Mediterranean.  

It is now also obvious that it was not well evaluated how the Syrian Kurds would act in such a climate, who they would form alliances with or who they would be influenced by and the risks this would create for Turkey. 

This is a typical “domino effect” situation. It is like buttoning your shirt wrong; once the first button goes through the wrong hole, none of the rest of the buttons fit correctly. 

We know we should not expect the architects of this policy to self-criticize, but at least they should see where they made a mistake, and we have a right to expect them to change the Syrian policy starting from the beginning. 

This is crucial to not sink further into the Syrian quagmire.

The difference between us  

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his statement following the terrorist attacks against dailies Yeni Şafak and Yeni Akit, said, without mentioning any names, that those who “raised hell” after the attacks on daily Hürriyet would be closely and carefully monitored. 

I don’t know whether or not he was satisfied with the reaction from press institutions, the Doğan Media Group or us individually as writers.  

As soon as the attack was known, the necessary reaction was shown and the attack was condemned fiercely. This is a situation we did not see in the pro-government media after the attack on Hürriyet. 

Not only was there no reaction, we even saw the bully leading the attack praised within his party; he was even appointed to an important position in the state civil service. 

This is the difference between you and us. We oppose violence wherever it comes from, without any calculation. We even defend the rights of those who do not respect our rights of thought and expression, without saying “but.”  

We hope one day you will be able to recognize the significance of this.

When the watches were genuine 

In 2013 a Chinese investment company gave a gift of three watches to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot and two other politicians in nylon bags. Because the watches were in these bags, they thought the watches were fake and started wearing them after the necessary registration. Then one of them thought the watches may not be fake. Last year, it was understood that they were genuine. Then the three decided to return the watches worth $250,000 in total. 

This is such an unfamiliar practice for us.