The worm has turned
War is not only military confrontation: It is also about eroding the psychology of the adversary, forcing it to make wrong decisions, or pushing the public opinion of your adversary into such a psychological state of producing uncertainty and confusion while building confidence among your countrymen. Put aside adversaries or the enemies a country might be in hot confrontation with, psychological warfare might be used even among “allies” or “strategic partners” at times of economic, political, strategic and such conflict of interests.
Turkey’s decision to procure the Russian S-400 air defense system was another factor among others poisoning the ties between Turkey and the United States, landing relations in what might be described as one of the worst crises between the two allies. Was the crisis an intentional escalation by President Donald Trump to distract attention and win sympathies of his countrymen at a time when he was facing an impeachment process? How did the 60-year allies and strategic partners turn into adversaries and lose confidence in each other?
The financial attack that seriously devastated the value of the Turkish Lira and the consecutive threats that such an offensive could be repeated were not of course conducive to allied relations.
On Feb. 27 afternoon, when in most pro-government TV channels and internet sites, there was a bombardment of information regarding great military achievements against the Syrian government, it was obvious a major, unfortunate event took place. A while later it became clear that Turkish forces were attacked and there were casualties.
One is a big number when the loss is a beloved one. Losing 35 Turkish soldiers in attacks by Russia-supported Syrian government jets was a very serious trauma for the Turkish nation.
It was a painful night for everyone, but no one can really feel the great pain reflected in the eyes of a father or in the scream of the mother whose son was killed in that attack.
Was it a consolation that worms of Turkish unmanned and armed drones staged very successful attacks despite the Russian-enforced air defense systems of Syria? Obviously not. But the nation badly needed to hear some success stories. Was it a success that despite such sophisticated air defense systems, Turkish drones devastated three aerial defense facilities, many sophisticated mobile anti-air defense vehicles, or killed three senior generals of the Syrian army? Of course, but the pain is still there.
Turkey has been hosting over 4.6 million Syrian refugees. It has also been warning its Western allies for months that if the Syrian government attacked Idlib, there could be a new wave of refugees that Turkey cannot be expected to host. Europe remained deaf and blind to Turkey’s calls but continued advising Ankara it should continue the “open-door” policy.
Now, Turkey has decided to implement a reverse “open-door” policy and told millions of refugees in Turkey, and the newcomers, that Turkey would no longer keep its doors to Europe closed, if they wish to travel there. There is panic in Greece, Bulgaria, and the rest of Europe. Why? Was it not a humanitarian need to embrace the people in need? Was it not a humanitarian attitude to embrace the refugees?
Sorry, Turkey cannot be fooled again with a pledge to extend few billions of dollars “to projects” in exchange of hosting refugees. Perhaps Turkey should contribute financially to its European allies so that they can afford the burden.