Putin to keep Syria line despite Turkish PM Erdoğan

Putin to keep Syria line despite Turkish PM Erdoğan

Deniz Zeyrek ANKARA - Radikal
Putin to keep Syria line despite Turkish PM Erdoğan

This file photo shows Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shaking hands during a meeting in Istanbul. Hürriyet photo, Mustafa KÜÇÜK

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan initiated a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 5, asking for support from the permanent member of the UN Security Council for taking measures which would prevent victimized Syrians from leaving their country. Yet, Putin was clear and sharp when he said that Moscow had no intention of changing its current policy regarding Syria.

At least four non-permanent members of the 15-member body, in addition to all five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, should approve a draft so that it would become a UN Security Council decision.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, since before the two-year long civil war began, Russia has been insistently lending its powerful political and military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, failing not only the expectations of Turkey but of many international actors.

Thus, the Security Council has been deadlocked on Syria, with Russia and China having already several times blocked action against Assad which had support from the remaining veto powers: the United States, Britain and France.

This is exactly the point from which the latest telephone conversation between Erdoğan and Putin should be analyzed. Despite awareness that Putin will not change his manner, Erdoğan has been frequently calling him and explaining the same difficulties again and again.

“Russia has no financial worries. The instability in the region is increasing the oil prices and leading up to results in favor of Russia. Naturally, we well know that they will not abandon their policies if this situation goes on as it is now. Still, we have been constantly harassing. We are explaining the gravity of the situation,” a senior Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, -- in a bid to elaborate on why Erdoğan has been calling Putin despite the absence of high hopes for a change in Moscow’s approach.

During the conversation, which took around half-an-hour, excluding the translation part, Putin’s approach was the same as usual, according to sources.

“The issue is not anymore an issue of Syria now. It has turned into a security and refugee issue for Turkey. Our civilian people have been dying because of the clashes taking place in our immediate vicinity. The Security Council shall step in There is a need to take measures which would prevent Syrian people from abandoning their countries and to decontaminate the border region from clashes. The UN Security council can make a decision to this end,” Erdoğan was quoted by the same sources as telling Putin, after explaining the incidents on the border with Syria one by one.

Due to the traumatic impact of the crisis inside the country as a neighbor, Turkey’s efforts regarding Syria have not only been limited to end the conflict in Syria, but are also aimed at overcoming this trauma.

The loss of almost a dozen lives, the refugee influx and groups of several thousand alleged smugglers forcing the security forces to engage in fights as they throw stones at the Turkish military patrols are only the visible parts of this trauma.

Still, Ankara is also very well aware that it is not possible to reach a conclusion before the UN Security Council launches certain humanitarian operations inside the Syrian territory, or without having some restrictions concerning the use of Syrian airspace.

[HH] Putin agrees on Egypt, yet no change on policy

During the same conversation, Erdoğan also drew attention to the turmoil that has gripped Egypt since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi.

“It is a must for the political process in the country to resume in a way which would include all groups. Otherwise, a top-down design will not lead up to a healthy consequence,” Erdoğan also told Putin.

Although Putin agreed with Erdoğan on what he said about Egypt, Russia was determined, however, to stick to its approach of following the incidents in Egypt from a distance.