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On Turkey’s New Plans for Syria

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That Turkey was forced to do yet another deal with Russia to avoid a military humiliation in Syria unmistakably showed the limitations of using military means to achieve its cardinal objectives. While the spread of COVID-19 may change the military equation and affect the possibilities of conducting direct operations, there is no gainsaying that Turkey’s plans for Syria largely remain interventionist, looking at achieving three different yet interconnected objectives. Through its direct and in-direct interventions, Turkey aims to remain relevant in a political process taking place next door. By positioning itself as an ‘inevitable partner in peace’, Turkey aims to turn itself into a regional hegemon. Secondly, by following an interventionist plan and remaining involved in Syria, Turkey aims to permanently resolve the ‘Kurdish question’ both in the region and inside Turkey itself. Thirdly, by keeping the Syria and Kurdish questions alive, Erdogan aims to bolster his political position at home and silence the increasing criticism he is facing over his Syria policy.

Turkey’s constant manoeuvers between the US/NATO and Russia illustrate the complexity of its foreign policy aiming to achieve a complex set of objectives. Its objective to set itself as a regional hegemon does not rest well with Syria, Iran and even Russia. Turkey, after all, remains a NATO member state, and allowing it to turn into a hegemon might in the long run become a........

© New Eastern Outlook