Arxiv

Arxiv

After the last meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Iran and Russia on October 28-29, 2019 and their deputies on December 10-11 of the same year, the foreign ministers of these countries on April 22 this year. Of course, because of the pandemic, they held a rendezvous on-line, and discussed the Syrian issue.

Turkish Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on social networks that "... at the Seventh meeting of foreign ministers in the Astana format ... we had an exchange of views on recent events, especially in Idlib and on the East Bank of the Euphrates, on political discussions, the humanitarian situation and the return of refugees ".

Within the framework of the Syrian problem, the last four months have been extremely tense for Turkey and Russia, and although in January and February President Erdogan talked about the completion of the Astana process, Chavushoglu, trying to comply with the diplomatic framework, said that it was “halfway through” so far. So is this process ongoing or not? Why is there such a disagreement in the words of the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey?

However, in essence, the Astana Process could be considered completed after the meeting of Putin and Erdogan in Sochi on September 17, 2018. Although at the summit of the heads of state of Iran, Russia and Turkey in Tehran on September 7, Putin sharply refused to give a respite for "ridding Idlib of the terrorists," yet Erdogan was able to get it in Sochi in 10 days.

Ankara’s obligation was to rid Idlib of groups that Moscow considers “terrorists,” and Turkey - “moderate fighters.” Despite giving Ankara a 20-day delay in September 2019, she did not resolve the issue: terrorist groups strengthened their positions in the region and did not want to leave it.

In December, Turkish ministers of defense and foreign affairs openly expressed support for these groups, and after another violation of the ceasefire on January 12 this year. Turkey said it would not refuse to protest these "moderate fighters."

The events following this are well known to everyone: after the death of February 27 in Idlib, 33 Turkish military Syria was “forgotten”, and Russia and Turkey were almost on the verge of war. During a meeting between Putin and Erdogan in the Kremlin on March 5, Ankara, having achieved a ceasefire, again won time. From March 15, the Turkish and Russian military began and already five times conducted joint patrols in Idlib, however, radical groups do not allow him to continue further.

If this is the situation today, then what kind of “Astana process” can we talk about? Indeed, on January 20, 2017, it was launched with the aim of finding a political solution to the Syrian problem, controlling a ceasefire and resolving humanitarian issues as soon as possible.

What kind of process is this if the development of events has brought Russia and Turkey to the brink of war? Is it not a paradox: this is a solution to the Syrian problem; Moscow and Tehran have the closest direct relations with Damascus and render military-diplomatic and political assistance to President Assad? And Ankara, despite the numerous warnings and persistent attempts of Russia and Iran, refuses not only from behind-the-scenes negotiations with him, does not allow any form of dialogue with the Assad regime, but does not even want to talk about it, insisting: “The executioner Assad must leave!” . In other words, two of the three countries trying to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian problem are close friends and allies of Syria and are present in many regions of this country, and the third country does not even think of making any concessions to the state recognized by the UN.

It is interesting that the more persistent R. Erdogan asked V.Putin “not to defend Assad,” the more Moscow supported the latter. How, then, can Turkey, Iran, and Russia still believe that the Astana process they started in 2017 is still ongoing?

However, in fact, all three countries still do not believe, and from the very beginning did not believe in it. When on January 27, 2017, the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov received representatives of the parties fighting in Syria in Moscow, the Riyadh group, supported by Saudi Arabia, refused to negotiate with Moscow's support for Assad, and did not appear. That is, the "process" was born inferior. At this stage, Saudi Arabia, which patronizes the “Riyadh group”, indirectly supports Damascus.

In other words, the Astana Process has strengthened Arab nationalism and the support of Bashar al-Assad by many members of the League of Arab States.

So did Turkey achieve this by pursuing its policy in the region?

Mayis Alizade

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