This is the concluding part of this series on Peace in Syria. Part 1 can be accessed here.
The oddity of the situation is that Turkey is bitterly opposed to the Kurdish PKK and its armed offshoot in Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), while the Washington Consensus is supportive of the PKK since it is fighting IS in Syria and Iraq, and is a stabilizing force between the Sunnis and Shias in Iraq, since it belongs to neither of these groups. In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Merlüt Cavvsoglu echoed the American view that since Assad was responsible for 600K deaths – a largely false accusation – he could not hold talks with Assad.7
Turkey’s position is odd in another way. It is trying to lead Syrian rebels in this deal while it has censorship problems of its own. Novelist Asli Erdogan and Linguist Neemiye were jailed for a time. Ahmet Sik had a brush with the law for writing an unpublished book on Gullen’s network.8 Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abandoned Attaturk’s democratic principles and embarked on a dictatorship when he was the Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014. As the country has never recovered from this slide, Turkey, nor Russia for that matter, can be models to follow.
Unobtrusively and regrettably, the Syrian issue has expanded to include Pakistan. Turkey and Azerbaijan were strong allies, but Turkey struck a friendly deal with Armenia for a pipeline project without informing Azerbaijan. Parts of Armenia, like Nagorno Karabkh, are claimed by Azerbaijan, while Russia is arming Armenia more than Azerbaijan. The Turkey-Armenia alliance calls into question the faith Azerbaijan had in Turkey’s protection. Azerbaijan therefore chose to rely on Israeli arms, which makes Pakistan, a provider of arms, a rival. AWD News floated this headline: “Israel Defense Minister: If Pakistan sends troops to Syria under any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack.” Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja responded, to what was claimed to be faked news, that Pakistan is a nuclear country and will respond accordingly.9 What this incident shows is that war in the Middle East could inadvertently be broadened to include a nuclear country, like distant Pakistan. The latter has at times referred to its bomb as being an Islamic bomb.
- “Putin announces ceasefire in Syria,” themoscowtimes.com, December 29, 2016. See also “War ended: Russia withdraws troops from peaceful Syria,” pravda.ru, December 29, 2016.
- “Daesh, Nusra and YPG terrorists excluded,” dailysabah.com, December 29, 2016.
- “Syria may be divided into spheres of influence: reports,” themoscowtimes.com, December 29, 2016.
- “The draft of text of Syria ceasefire deal brokered by Turkey, Russia,” Daily Sabah, December 29, 2016.
- “Kremlin seeks UN blessing for Syria truce,” arabnews.com, December 31, 2016.
- “BRICS bank may provide reconstruction aid to Syria,” sputniknews.com, 8.7.2015.
- Op. cit.
- “Truce in Syria, trials in Turkey,” hurriyetdailynews.com, December 29, 2016.
- Agence France –Presse, “Pakistan minister issues nuclear warning to Israel after ‘being tricked by faked news site,” telegraph.co.uk, December 26, 2016.