Mehmet Ali Güller

Mehmet Ali Güller

Turan: You have been writing about the Syrian problem from the very day that it arose. How would you describe the situation at its current stage?

Güller: It is impossible to assess the situation based on one parameter, because both the actors and the goals pursued by them are different. Despite the fact that R.T. Erdogan reached a consensus with D. Trump (but not with the United States), Turkey faced a new problem: ISIS.

If the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) respects Syria"s territorial and political integrity, a military operation will benefit Moscow as well. Because the Kremlin kills several birds with one stone at once. For example, under pressure from Moscow, the "Kurdish map", slipping out of the hands of the United States, "transforms" into negotiations with Damascus. The fact that the PYD was in conjunction with the Syrian state not as a dividing, but as a unifying element meets the interests of Russia. Is it easy for the USA to part with that card? Or, can PYD, surrendering hastily, raise a white flag in front of Damascus? Of course, all these are questions that are not easy to find answers to right away.

However, at this stage, we see how, where the probability of penetration of the Turkish army is high, PYD surrenders to Syria. And the United States accepts this: PYD must retreat beyond the 30-32-kilometer Security Zone, which will include the Turkish army. After President Erdogan agreed on this at a meeting with Vice President Pence, the Turkish army suspended operations for 5 days, as it was agreed.

The United States, seizing the moment, is trying to take advantage of this to put Turkey at the negotiating table with PYD: both Trump's messages on Twitter, and his hints in a very controversial letter of October 9, and discussions at a meeting with the US delegation these days - everything says it is about their plans to force Turkey to start new negotiations with PYD / YPG.

Thus, while Turkey"s main moment in this operation was the fact that in some places, PYD raised the white flag; its negative side is the danger that the Ankara States will force new negotiations with PYD/YPG. However, since the AKP has not yet reached an agreement with the Syrian government and is trying to get land from it, the current situation raises questions from the Turkish partners in the Astana process.

The gain in this situation for the United States was that Trump laid the solution to the ISIS problem on Turkey. Although Trump for the third time is trying to leave Syria, under the influence of other forces, he still has not been able to fulfill this intention. Now he believes that a convenient moment has appeared for this. Wanting to avoid costs, the US wants Turkey to fight ISIS instead. What is the negative side of the situation for Washington? The United States, which came to Syria after Iraq, wanted to break through the energy corridor from the Basra (Persian - Ed.) Gulf to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, and now problems have arisen for the implementation of these plans.

But what is Russia"s benefit in this whole situation? It instantly became a key player in the region and the main coordinator at the negotiating table. Moscow, creating favorable opportunities for Syria, helps it to transfer state troops to the north, and also gets an opportune moment to strengthen its position at meetings of the Constitutional Committee, which are scheduled to begin in late October. Russia sees the likelihood of Turkey"s continued presence in Syria as a risk to itself.

What are the benefits and losses of Syria? Naturally, Damascus protests against the conduct of any operation on the territory of the country and without his consent. However, on the other hand, the Turkish operation forced the separatists in the northeast of the country to surrender to Syria. Because of this, Damascus was able to systematically occupy previously inaccessible regions for it and restore its power there.

On the other hand, the Syrian government demands that Turkey respect the territorial integrity of Syria and leave the country. The most correct thing in this situation is the establishment by Ankara of a direct dialogue with Damascus. That is, the dialogue is not special services, but political authorities. Such a dialogue will create a win-win situation from the point of view of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Turkey.

Today, the most important issue is the need for Ankara to sign a cooperation agreement with Damascus. In the end, this will benefit the Kurds. Otherwise, they may again be betrayed by the States. In the future, the Kurds, caught between the Turks and the Arabs, without receiving support from the United States, may be crushed. An agreement between Ankara and Damascus can prevent bloody battles and contribute to a Kurdish-friendly situation.

Turan: Did no one in Ankara foresee that after PYD opened an office in Moscow in 2015, but the Kremlin did not allow it to be active, Russia, when necessary, will use the Kurds for its own benefit? But Kurdish groups located in different parts of Syria speak of active cooperation with Russia.

Mehmet Ali Güller və Mayıs ƏlizadəGüller: At that time, which you are talking about, it was impossible to make such forecasts in Ankara. Why? Because in those years, the then political leader of the PYD, Salikh Muslim, was met at a high level in Ankara. He was told "We will not intervene in your affairs, if only you would cooperate with the Free Syrian army that we created and overthrow Assad."

Unfortunately, then the main task of the AKP government was to unite PYD and other organizations with the goal of overthrowing Assad. Therefore, at that time, having a PYD office in Moscow was not a problem for the ruling party, since it itself collaborated with PYD here.

In fact, it would be normal to solve all the problems in the region with the official Syrian state. If Turkey builds relations with its neighbors through the policies of a second state, it will always face problems. Because all the great players always put their interests first.

In addition, the desire of Russia before the United States to take possession of the "Kurdish card" is quite natural. Because long before the States, she had plans for Kurds in the region. Therefore, the right solution here is to create a platform between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria for cooperation in order to solve this problem.

Turan: A hint of what it should be understood that Turkey is accused of the US decision on sanctions in the context of mentioning the terrorist organization ISIS? What problems could this create for Turkey in the future?

Güller: The US uses all this as a threat, blackmail, a bugbear to force Turkey to negotiate with the YPG. And it is impossible to draw concrete conclusions from this. However, as we saw, a year ago, in a rather vulnerable period of the Turkish economy, the AKP government, unfortunately, succumbed to some pressure, recall the case associated with Pastor Brunson. And now Washington wants to say: we have determined the border of the 30-32-kilometer zone for you, you can take certain points. But this cannot last forever and with our mediation you must come to terms with the YPG.

Sanctions that could be applied to implement this plan will put pressure on the AKP government. But it will be quite difficult for him to resolve this issue - if it accepts this pressure and starts negotiations with the YPG, the problems of power in Turkey cannot be avoided. The government that began negotiations with the YPG will immediately fall. For all these reasons, the AKP government will have to adhere to tactics that will balance US pressure, continue cooperation with partners from Astana, and remain faithful to party ideology. This is a very fragile and difficult tactic.

Therefore, the counter-terrorism operation, carried out on a very fair basis, received no support from anyone except a few countries. Because the AKP government tells its supporters that it"s going to conquer the land, but the world does not accept it.

For example, the position of China. Who is the main competitor of the USA? China is. A weakening US position anywhere is good for Beijing, is not it? So why does China oppose Turkey"s operation, which weakens the US"s position, and calls on Turkey to withdraw from Syria? Because Beijing also sees that the AKP can carry out this operation with the intention of "acquiring land"!

How do they determine this? By the steps being taken. On the one hand, Ankara speaks about the territorial integrity of Syria, and on the other, it appoints its managers, open its university faculties there, and creates an interim government.

If a state is standing on some land, then it has a single army. And Turkey created the Syrian national army. This is tantamount to a second state. It is precisely because of these steps that Turkey, even with such ardent opponents of the United States as China, cannot inspire confidence in its just struggle against terrorism.

Turan: What is the situation in Idlib amid all these processes?

Güller: Despite the fact that Russia does not agree with the Turkish policy pursued in Syria, in order to prevent a new rapprochement between Washington and Ankara, it turned a blind eye to Tayyip Erdogan"s cooperation with some organizations that Moscow does not recognize.

To discourage the AKP government from this "passion", Russia, at every opportunity, conducted military operations in regions near Idlib, but quickly completed them to provoke rapprochement between the US and Turkey.

The events of recent days have created favorable opportunities for the Syrian government in Idlib. So, according to incoming reports, the Syrian Air Force and ground forces are currently conducting operations in Idlib.

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