Not the time to ask why

Not the time to ask why

Is it of any use to keep asking “Why are we in Syria?” If it was a mistake or not, that’s an issue that ought to have been closed long ago. It was done. We are in Syria or Syrians are in Turkey.

That’s the reality we have to embrace. Now we better focus on how we may contribute to a resolution of the Syrian quagmire, find ways of integrating the millions of refugees with the Turkish society or, better, how to create the conditions of return of at least some of them back to their homeland.

Wasting time with a discussion that Turkey ought to use its “elder brother” status as the former ruler of the Syrian territory, mediate between the government and the opponents and prevent a civil war from engulfing the country can do no good to anyone at the moment.

Whether right or not, Turkey preferred to declare the Bashar al-Assad regime “illegitimate” and saw an end to the problem in its ouster. Most of the world shared the same opinion at the time, but while the world changed course a while later and started to pursue some other strategic interests, Turkey remained loyal to what it described as “moral obligation.”

To what extend Sunni solidarity, or support for the Muslim Brotherhood, constituted the backbone of Turkish policy is a subject of debate, but it must be clear for everyone that the Syria issue is a serious security threat for Turkey as well.

As much as the United States, Russia, Iran and the European countries pursued Syria policy based on their individual interests, Turkey developed and implemented its own policy. At times, it aligned with the Americans, or with the Russians, but always concentrated on what it regarded were the strategy demanded by its interests. Not only with the separatist terrorist groups, it fought effectively with ISIL terrorists.

Should Turkey be in Syria? If it was not there, a Kurdish state in northern Iraq would be created by now thanks to the “generous” efforts of Turkey’s western allies, as well as Russia. If Turkey was not in Syria, it would have been under serious attacks from the separatist elements, or their Syrian extensions.

Turkey lost its sons in attacks by Syrian government troops. Syria cannot be accused of trying to consolidate government rule in its country, but there was an Astana process and the Turkish positions attacked were established in the Idlib area and elsewhere in accordance with the understandings reached.

If the Syrian government could dare attack Turkish positions and murder in cold blood Turkey’s sons, not only Syria, but its supporters must bear in mind that there will be serious consequences of such insolent and murderous acts.

Such attacks may not convince Turkey to pull out, if that was the aim, but further consolidate Turkey’s resolve not to let anyone get away with a coward attack
and murderous action undertaken against Turkish soldiers. With such attacks, the Syrian regime only helped stifle the opponents in Turkey against the Syria policy of the government.

Now it is no longer the time to ask, “Why are we in Syria?