Much has been said recently about talks between the government in Damascus and the Turkish occupation state, after officials of the latter promoted these talks and the possibility of reaching an eventual reconciliation between the two sides.
With the arrival of Bashar al-Assad to the presidency in Syria in 2000, the relationship between the Turkish occupation and Damascus developed, leading to the appearance of personal relations between Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad. During this period, al-Assad opened the country’s doors and markets to the Turks and their merchants, to the detriment of Syrian industries. Security and political affairs in 2010 were in the interest of the Turkish state and specifically targeted the Kurds of Syria and were seen as an amendment to the Adana agreement the elder Assad made with Turkey on October 20 1998, which also targeted the Kurds.
Despite this, with the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, the occupying Turkish state and its President Erdogan (an old friend of Bashar al-Assad), were the first to support mercenary groups and called and worked to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime, transforming friendship into great enmity.
With the failure of Turkish policy in Syria, especially after the Russian intervention in 2015, the Turkish occupation state entered the Alliance of Astana, which includes Russia and Iran, which strongly support the Damascus government, and since then the Turkish objectives have been limited to overthrowing the “Assad regime” and attacking northern and eastern Syria.
Russia has since sought to end the state of conflict between Damascus and the Turkish occupation, but the latter used the policy of playing on contradictions and evaded it due to American and Western rejection of this move.
The head of national security in Damascus, Major General Ali Mamlouk, and the head of Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan, held a meeting in early 2020 in the Russian capital, Moscow, the first meeting announced since 2011.
Discussions on negotiations and reconciliation between the two parties have multiplied after recent meetings in Sochi and Tehran, which brought together the leaders of the countries of Astana (Russia – Iran – Turkey).
Turkish Occupation Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on August 11, 2022: “Turkey supports political reconciliation between (the Syrian opposition) and the Assad regime”, and indicated that it has was conducted in October 2021, when he attended a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Serbian capital Belgrade, a brief conversation with the Foreign Minister of the Damascus government, Faisal Miqdad.
Earlier, Turkish occupation President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, upon returning from a meeting in Sochi with Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 6, that intelligence services in Ankara and Damascus were communicating about “terrorist organizations”.
Upon his return from a visit to Ukraine on August 19, Erdogan made another statement in which he said that Turkey was ready to take contacts with the government in Damascus to a higher level; That is, at a political level.
Turkish internal reasons
A researcher in political sociology and expert on Turkish and Kurdish affairs, Dr. Hoda Rizk, spoke about it saying: “I think there were meetings that started at the intelligence level more than 5 months ago, but which did not lead to a conclusion. , but it seems that there are internal Turkish reasons that led to the development of these talks, we do not forget that there are unfavorable internal conditions for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, especially since the Turkish opposition has said it wants to first restore the relationship with Damascus, especially with Bashar al-Assad.
Regarding the motivations behind Turkey’s participation in these negotiations, Huda Rizk said: “The Turkish internal reality is in economic crisis, and Erdogan has won most of the elections because of his economic success, and this time there is no is not an economic success, but rather an economic failure, and there is 79% inflation in Turkey, so there is a danger that Erdogan will win this election.”
She explained in this context: “It is true that there is no democracy in Turkey and that there is only one man, but what is important for the Turkish voter first of all is the economy, then democracy and freedom. Therefore, Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks to return to a zero problem policy, so we have seen how he has come to an agreement with all his adversaries: from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, he is trying to restore the relationship with Egypt.
And she continued: “Erdogan knows full well that the Arab countries see that he is interfering in Iraq and Syria, especially in Syria, because he sponsors some of the Islamist forces against which the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, like the (Tahrir al-Sham), as well as all the Islamic groups sponsored by Erdogan, so he tries to get along with all the Arab countries in order to be supported economically.
Common Russian-Turkish interest
Despite Russian military success in Syria, Moscow has not achieved political success, so it seeks, through this reconciliation, to break the isolation imposed on the government in Damascus and violate the economic sanctions imposed on it.
Rizk said on this subject: “There is pressure from Russia on Erdogan to reach an agreement with the regime in Syria. This issue is in Erdogan’s electoral interest and it is in Russia’s interest that an agreement is reached between Turkey and Syria and that there is a reproduction of an agreement similar to the Adana agreement, but the agreement is being expanded, there is also the problem of refugees. The interior of Turkey is worried about the presence of 4 million Syrians, most of whom are economic refugees, which means that they work in Turkey, which has led to the uprising of the Turks because they claim to take them employment opportunities, as well as they (refugees) spend on Turkish infrastructure, this is also very important for the Turkish president, but he wants to send some of these people back to the areas he has prepared for make it a buffer zone.”
Big differences .. Erdogan does not want to withdraw and Damascus will not accept
On plans for the Turkish occupation, she said: “Erdogan does not want to withdraw from Syria at the moment, but he wants the security agreements with Damascus to be in those areas which he considers safe for loyal refugees. to Turkey”.
Regarding Damascus’ position, Huda Rizk said: “The question is, is it possible for the Syrian state to accept this reality and have a buffer or security zone as they call it? He suggests 30 km, and of course the Syrian state does not accept that there is such a buffer zone, it is impossible, there are negotiations and we do not know what these negotiations are and where they arrived, but we know that the he Syrian state has not accepted 30 km and will not accept a Turkish presence on Syrian territory.
She said: “Turkey is serious, but the proposal does not mean a withdrawal, but rather security agreements. Under these security agreements, the Turkish military can withdraw, but there are agreements that must be made. These agreements are not only security agreements, but there are agreements concerning (the Syrian opposition) and of course Russia is considered the Syrian state that there are so-called terrorists, like Hay’ at Tahrir al-Sham and a few other activists.
She added: “The question is, is it possible to achieve reconciliation with the terrorists? This is a question around which there is a question mark. Some terrorist militants who belong to external forces were initially eliminated, some of them were dissolved. , but Turkey is trying to polish the image of al-Julani and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. The question here is whether the state accepts Syria and Russia on this issue, it is also a question mark.
And she added: “There is also an important question, which is the understanding of the Syrian state with the Syrian Democratic Forces. The Syrian state and Russia consider this an internal Syrian issue, and they are sponsoring dialogue with the SDF, and that’s what was mentioned about meetings and meetings.”
Turkey cultivates its influence in Syria
From the beginning, Turkey has worked, alongside its military attacks, to consolidate its presence, whether by changing the demography of Syrian regions and forming mercenary groups under its command, or by forming political parties and entities under the opposition name to intervene in the Syrian political process and represent Turkish interests in case Turkey is forced to withdraw.
Observers believe that what is happening in the so-called safe areas of the displacement of the indigenous population and the settlement of other peoples loyal to the Turkish occupation is part of the Turkish strategy based on the consolidation of influence in the purpose of controlling the future of the Syrian state, whether through elections and votes or by creating chaos that serves Turkish interests.
This is similar to what Turkey did before the annexation of Iskenderun, where a formal referendum was held to include the Liwaa in the Turkish state, where thousands of Turks who were transported in trucks took part , and the original inhabitants of the Liwaa boycotted it. .
On the so-called Syrian opposition, Huda Rizk said: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers himself the leader of the opposition and he speaks on his behalf. He wants amendments to the Syrian constitution, but it seems that Tehran and Russia don’t want a waiver of the president’s powers, but it also seems that Russia wants to satisfy Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and it is by giving certain powers to the Prime Minister or the Vice-President of the Republic, so there are talks that follow one another.
And she continued: “Are these talks going to succeed? Of course, the circumstances in which Turkey is present are not conditions that allow it to maneuver much, but I also do not think that Turkeus will leave Syria without have security gains for the opposition”. and what they call moderate opposition. Therefore, the talks will be difficult and will not be easy. I think we won’t wake up tomorrow and the talks will be over, but it will take time.”
Huda Rizk concluded her speech by saying, “I think the problem has been put on the way to a solution, but is it possible for a quick fix? No, because there are big problems in Syria, but it seems that just as the problem has been solved in southern Syria between Jordan and the militants, and Russia has entered the line of reconciliation, it can be done. “The problem is in the north, but the north is more complicated than the situation in the south.”