While the picture in Afrin is so clear, let’s ask this question: Do you still believe Turkey was the winner in Afrin?
4 months ago, the Afrin operation was brought by the government as the “national survival” problem of the country and the operation was initiated in a “national mobilization” atmosphere. Such an atmosphere was created that if the operation had not happened, the country would have been divided. Therefore, not even criticizing this operation, even expressing concerns regarding the operation, was shown as ‘patriotic betrayal’. Eventually, the operation, which was launched on January 20th, resulted in the withdrawal of military forces by the Afrin cantonal administration to prevent civilian casualties after the city was besieged in March, and the city’s control came under the rule of the Turkish army-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces. According to a report prepared by the United Nations (UN) in this period, 137,000 people from Afrin were forced to relocate. And, as it is known, these people’s possessions were looted by the FSA who took over the city.
After this brief reminder, let us look at the present situation of Afrin. A few days ago, many newspapers and news websites reflected news from the French news agency AFP. Interviews of the agency with the East Ghoutans, who has been placed in Afrin – at least 35,000 people have been brought from other places according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – contain striking information in recognition of what is happening today. “Nobody wants to live in a house that is not his own, or use other people’s possessions,” says one of the East Ghoutans who was settled in Afrin. But one of the most noteworthy thing about the situation is that a person from Afrin says “People can come to our neighbourhood. They can come to Afrin, however, people from Afrin cannot come to Afrin” he summed up the situation.
Let’s go one by one now.
Where’s East Ghouta? IT was one of the settlements in the hands of the jihadist groups in the south of Damascus. The Syrian army took control of East Ghouta with an operation supported by Russia and Iran at the end of February. After the operation, the jihadist groups there have moved Cerablus and İdlib; ie to regions that Turkey directly controls or that are in the hands of Jihadist groups but Turkey has troops as an observer there. As it can be understood from the AFP news, tens of thousands of civilians in East Ghouta are placed in the homes of people who have been displaced from Afrin through the operation.
After the Afrin operation, the President’s Chief Advisor İlnur Çevik made an important statement in terms of understanding what bargains and accounts were carried out for this operation. Çevik stated “If Russia had not opened the airspace, it would not be possible to get into Bab’s, Afrin, even to launch unmanned aircraft” saying that this operation could only be done with Russia’s “approval”.
The point that needs to be clarified here is why Russia gave ‘approval’ to this operation. When we look at Afrin today, it is clear why Russia allowed this operation. Because Russia is putting all jihadist groups their families in Syria and into areas where Turkey has control over today. Thus, it both ensures the security of Syria and the Assad regime and it is using Turkey and the jihadist groups placed in northern Syria to threaten the Kurds in cooperation with the US and to disrupt plans of the US. No matter how much the ruling and its media trumpet says “big Turkey”, the real quarterback is Russia and thus the ruling power in Turkey can only move as far as Russia allows. Placing of East Ghouta people in Afrin makes it obvious that Turkey’s operation is a part of the Russian plan.
As for what is happening to us due to these developments …
We have said several times before: when Erdogan’s ruling party becomes unable to support the jihadist groups they support – as it is the case with the ISIS – these radical Islamic groups, which are placed in the border depending on the developments in Syria, will become a big trouble for the country.
Another important point is that this intervention policy has devastating results for the peaceful approach of Turkey’s Kurdish problem-solving basis. This situation makes it difficult to get out of the spiral of violence and plays a destructive role in the basis of peoples’ cohabitation. Even though the rulers of Turkey want to place jihadist groups on the border or have thousands of kilometres of wall, no matter what they do, they will not escape the reality of her own Kurdish problem. Because the real problem is not beyond the boundaries, but how the Kurdish problem within the country is to be solved.
Finally, the ruling party in the country declares this fighter-interventionist policy as “indigenous and national”, and talks about anti-imperialism as much as they want. In fact, as it is seen in the example of Russia, these policies serve to imperialists in order for them to use the weaknesses of Turkey for their advantage.
Of course, these facts also show us once again why it is so important to get rid of these power and politics during the June 24th elections.
Before I end my words, while the picture in Afrin is so clear, let’s ask this question again: Do you still believe Turkey was the winner in Afrin?
Article by Yusuf KARATAS