BY: Yasin Aktay*
After the increased cooperation between the region’s countries, Western circles started to sing the same known song again. It is being claimed once again that Turkey has switched axis, that it is going to burn all bridges with Europe. As you might remember, this claim was previously voiced very loudly when Turkey contributed to an agreement with Brazil due to Iran’s nuclear program and had prevented the agreement from being implemented.
It is known that Turkey’s thoughts on Syria differ from its U.S. and European allies concerning certain very critical points. Turkey has a long border with Syria and blood relations. More than 3 million Syrians are being hosted in Turkey
This way, the dignity of the U.N. and Western alliance, which claims it rises over values such as human rights, is protected in the Syrian tragedy to which the whole world remains insensitive toward. Turkey is the country most seriously affected by the Syrian crisis and the number of countries contributing other than a few empty words of praise is quite little.
Meanwhile, Turkey is the target of Syria-based terrorist attacks. In fact, these terrorist attacks are carried out by the Syrian offshoot of a terrorist organization that gives the image it is fighting another terrorist organization and this terrorist organization is openly supported by the U.S. and our Western allies.
Yes, the U.S. and certain states that are our NATO allies are supporting the Democratic Union Party (PYD) terrorist organization and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units in various ways. In other words, the equipment used in the terror attacks in Turkey, the training received by those committing the terrorist attacks, are provided by our allies. Hence, it is not Turkey harming alliance relations and the law of alliance but the other members of the alliance. This way, the spirit of the alliance is also betrayed. In every period Turkey and Russia develop their ties, claims that Turkey is harming the spirit of the alliance appearing on the agenda is also interesting. Western circles alleging that Turkey is giving itself an imaginary strategic, geopolitical importance are suddenly starting to scream and shout when Turkey turned toward developing and deepening into cooperation in Eurasia. When the U.S. and Russia cooperate on certain matters, the same circles do not open the alliance to debate, but Turkey’s position is debated. At this point, we need to underline this matter once more: What needs to be debated is the U.S.’s position. Unfortunately, our ally gives the impression that it is on the same line with terrorist organizations.
Turkey is targeting stability in Syria. Turkey’s goal is to protect Syria’s territorial integrity and to completely free the north of Syria from terrorist organizations. We concur with our allies on this subject, yet in practice, by giving support to terrorist organizations, such as the PYD, and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), our allies are risking Syria’s territorial integrity and openly violating the U.N. Charter. Turkey wants the requirement of international law to be applied. Syria’s territorial integrity is under the security of the U.N. law and Turkey is the greatest supporter of this security.
In every period, steps are taken aimed at solution, we observe that Bashar Assad’s future is also brought up on the agenda to push Ankara in a tight corner. This is an artificial, synthetic debate. It is not right to index the incidents in Syria to a single person. Turkey has clearly put forth its attitude and thoughts on this subject and its addressees have received this attitude with understanding. Insisting on discussing the matter over a single person will prevent the process from being understood and finding a solution.
The most fundamental issue in Syria right now is Syrians deciding the future of Syria, ensuring Syria’s territorial integrity and eliminating the terrorist organizations here. Those other than these fundamental issues are secondary issues, they are issues persistently kept on the agenda by those who do not want the process to be concluded in a solution. The greatest obstacle against reaching this goal is the support given to terrorist organizations such as PYD, YPG and Daesh. This support opens Syria to terrorist organizations.
Whether the Donald Trump administration in the U.S. will bring a solution to the problems is the matter in concern. The answer to this question can only be given after Trump’s actions. Unfortunately, the Obama administration failed to understand and manage the crisis in Syria. What’s more is, by giving the impression that it is on the same line and rank with a terrorist organization against another terrorist organization, the U.S. had a negative effect on its reliability and prestige in the region. We expect the Trump administration to give up its policy of supporting these terrorist organizations, to act in line with the law of alliance. Our expectation and demand from the U.S. is actually very clear: It needs to give up supporting terrorist organizations.
*Yasin Aktay is the vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) in Turkey.