Syria Policy Iran Israel and The West
Süleyman ŞENSOY
Süleyman ŞENSOY
TASAM Başkanı / Chairman
Release Date : 4/1/2015
Syria Policy Iran Israel and The West If we should recall Kerry’s expressions as a quotation; he has used a statement as “Washington should sit on the table with Beşşar Assad to get an end the war in Syria” in one of his interviews. Then those have hit the headlines and there have been lots of questions which are open to discussion among the people. It is certain that Assad, who has been running for the legitimacy, got the opportunity that he had been expecting, as saying “ okey, all right deal, let’s sit on the table but I have been expecting an action from you now; let me know, form the conditions and let’s sit on the table” in order not to miss that chance. When we look over the diplomatic mistakes, some boners or similar issues of democrats especially the management of Obama; and then we begin to think wise; is there any boner inside again? Otherwise, there was an immediate explanation from American Foreign Affairs as “our policy hasn’t been changed, also any situation of negotiation has been out of topic for now.”. How should we analyse that explanation? How should we comment the atmosphere of confusion and question made by Kerry?
 
I haven’t been evaluating that as a boner, that can be a manifestation of the subconscious. Especially nuclear negotiations, which have been maintaining with Iran, keep on being succesful. There has already been an explanation of the representative of Iran as “We have dealt in the rate of 90%, there has been only one issue between us.”. If an agreement can be provided with Iran, that means a normalization of the relations between Iran and the West. So, the Syria issue will be seriously affected from that development. Iran is one of the most important actors who have been feeding the process there. We can witness the meetings on which some different processes such as addressing the management of Beşşar Assad will being talked in the forward months. I have been thinking that the agreement process with Iran will be decisive about this subject.
 
While we have been endeavoring with more than two million Syrian immigrants by our own facilities without having any help from any place of the world and also hosting them in Turkey; just because Turkey has been thinking the issue in a humanist dimension and the most important responsibility among the world countries in the case of this humanist dimension has been on the shoulders of Turkey; there has been a right complaint from the Turkish Foreign Affairs, indeed. On the other word, more than 200 thousand people were murdered.  Lots of people have left their homes, and we have been hosting those people. With such a regime, how can you negotiate with a Regime who has thought that its people deserve that much violence? Of course, there has been a complaint reasonably also as what can you constitute and how. We are supposed to act after the world has minded to that complaint of course taking into account of Turkey’s rights and also its situation.
 
Real policy hasn’t been maintaining like that. Even if the thesis of Turkey are right, there hasn’t been any conjuncture to change the regime of Assad in Syria right now. However, it can be possible to deal on a transition process. As I said before, the agreement with Iran will also affect that. Whether the management of Assad will discontinue the management by the time can be discussed in the forward period. However, if the process between Iran and the West will be resulted with an unagreement - even if it has highly low possibility- ; the present chaos will also keep on.
 
The sensibility has been important about that kind of issues, but the situation has been already worse even when four thousand people died; that has been commented as “incomprehensible”. And now two hundred thousand people died and it has been thought that it is an issue which can not be solved and there has been a very important price to be paid. As that process has been deepened, the amount will raise to a million and perhaps millions of people will be aggrieved. As for me, the policies intended for ending the domestic war in Syria will be to the point for both the security of Turkey and the international equations. There is a deadlock for Turkey as; “In the point of discontinuing by the Assad management and family, we have shown a certain attitude; there is not any return of that after the present situation.”. Turkey has a right thesis according to itself, but the only decisive country of the process isn’t Turkey. Soon, also the policies of countries such as England, France and America can change. If there will be normalization also in Ukraine; and a ceasefire agreement will be reached to a certain stability; lots of international focus points will be tended to Syria. So, Turkey is supposed to be prepared to the different scenarios. At least, as for my opinion, there can be secondary civil dialogues done with all sides in Syria. Turkey has already strong dialogues with various sides, but there can be dialogues also with the sides qualified as the management of Beşşar Assad. Namely, I am not agree with the fact that being very sharp can be maintained in this process.
 
When we observe the situation in Syria, it is said that “there are redlines because of chemical weapons.”. These chemical weapons, which are the cause of massacre of approximately three or four thousand people, are our redline. When the West has compressed, the situation has been complicated and then the weapons were exterminated. As if all weapons were exterminated, there is a claim from Idlip - even they have put that claim with their proofs - moreover there is a claim also in the direction of the fact that a big family was cleared off by a chlorine gas. At the moment, dissident forces have begun to act to reflect it to international society. The bitter side of the situation is that there is at least 3-4 chemical attack claims in Syria approximately each month - as possible as we or the dissident forces can define - . While lots of ruin and death have already been spread across the Country; isn’t it a very painful situation to continue of using the chemical weapons still and to make them stay in the equation?
 
Definitely it’s true. No matter who use that; it is possible to get them, but as you know there is nearly 1200 different groups. We know about chemical weapons of Syria as “they are taken and exterminated”. However, if we remember those days; the management was accused about this subject because an attack and a consensus were created on an international intervention. So the Management handed in those weapons.
 
There were such an equation in the Region that; there were only chemical weapons in Syria and Egypt in return of nuclear power of Israel to balance the situation. So the chemical weapons in Syria were all exterminated. At the moment the weapons, which have a deterrence in this case, have remained only in Egypt. In other words, there is a different direction of equation in this situation. In every condition, these weapons are forbidden by international law and agreements. So, it is not acceptable to use them; but it is really difficult to know who is acting, what is being acted and also to prove it in such a complexity and chaos in Syria.
 
It is already unhealthy to take information and to keep on that communication. Because Beşşar has already destroyed completely the infrastructure of his own country; and Syria is to be totally buried into the dark. At this point, the horrific and dark side of the domestic war is exactly that. There is a picture which has been dragging Syria totally into the dark. When we look into the present since 2011;  it is clear to understand the serious and total loneliness of Syria at night, the washout or ruin of people from cities and villages. 80% of the Country seems to be buried into the dark. That is a very strong proof to show how painful that ruin was created by the Regime’s itself, and how painful points were arrived. More over ten and half million of people have left their homes. There are nearly two million people as a refugee in Turkey and that drama keeps on. It is obvious in the discourses of Regime that this violence and ruin will continue and that persecution will keep on.
 
The present situation might be worse, because it is highly difficult till the establishment of a legitimite state authority and till having a better capacity of systematical channels to work healthy. Because Syria is not a rich country also in the case of energy. The war has affected also the security conditions. Moreover, there is a serious blackout intended for the regions where the dissident forces have been controlling. Santrals have been bombarded. It is supposed to accept all of those as normal during the domestic war. Then there are blackouts in certain places for bombardments, also there are less light in use. It is always hard to distinguish satellite photos of South Korea and North Korea; the picture is a little similar in the case of prosperity and wealth. There are comparatively better conditions in the regions where the Government in Damascus has been controlling in the case of nutrient and energy; but we have learnt by the news that there are very serious problems and the fifty times in price of the nutrient in the places where they can’t control or can keep under an embargo.
 
One of the statistics, which has shown that the domestic war in Syria has reached to the horrible dimensions, is what happens to the health workers. According to the specified number, nearly 610 doctors, caregivers, nurses were murdered during the domestic war. 139 of them were losing their lives unfortunately in the torture tables of the Regime. We have been talking about the medical doctor Beşşar Assad who thinks that his own doctor deserves this treatment. At the moment, they are helping the dissident forces or are dragging the people to the death and torture in such similar discourses; but this is a medical army and he has been destroying and exterminating the medical sources of his own country namely the qualified manpower by his own hands. How can he explain it to his public in the future? That’s just an example. The Country has totally exterminated its own future at the moment in lots of fields from engineers to pilots and even from teachers to the municipality workers.
 
As long as a country doesn’t become distant to common sense, there won’t be a domestic war. So, I don’t think that there is any common sense to be able to calculate such kind of priorities during the domestic war. There can be great loss of lives even in the wars among the normal, legitimate and different countries. Health workers are murdered or tortured probably because of saying “you are curing dissidents of Regime and traitors”. As for me, there is another fact worse than that. I can explain it as millions of qualified human resources in Syria have been spread into various countries abroad. That is an extraordinary loss for the future of Syria; because who can rebuild the Country up? The loss in this case is a loss for a historical century according to Syria.
 
Everything has already been going out; people, who has an initiative soul and a self-confidence about living outside in a certain way, has been trying to survive in various countries, whether it is appropriate to their jobs, by abandoning their countries with their capitals or educational savings and equipments. It is supposed to forecast that the majority will be unable to return; and even a normal system can be established in Syria, an important amount of them - as the same with our expatriates - won’t be able to return because of their certain established systems in the countries in which they have began to live.
 
Again if we give an example of a doctor; the situation in Halab, Doctor Haji Osman el Osman is a regular doctor and he takes care of the dissidents who have been fighting, in order to save the life. In one hand, he is saying that “we doesn’t cure only dissidents in here, we take care of the soldiers of the Regime if they are wounded.  That is a human tragedy and we are exactly in the middle of that. And we have to help everybody, who is in the middle of that, because we are doctors and physicians.”. On the other hand, will it be possible to see Beşşar and the head actors of the Regime, who are in the management which thinks as their people deserve all of this cruelty, will be justified because of their all war crimes?
 
It is a difficult chance, because at the moment, an option such as the fall of Asad management has been continuously distant. Assad management has been strengthening more because of lots of factors such as the situation of international society, the process with Iran, the scattered and unsuccessful situation of dissidents. Namely, it is a difficult chance but there may be an agreement of a transition period. There can be a process of discontinuing by the management by the time and the discontinuing by management of the family in three or five years or less time. It can be an untouchable issue again because of the possibility to bring new negotiations. Also it has not a zero chance to be unable to justify the management.
 
Syria announced that American unmanned aerial vehicle was felt. The point, where the vehicle was felt, is highly interesting; Lattakia. It is more important point because of its strategical location and its Russian basis. At the moment, if we evaluate this location, what are the codes in the fall of the plane and why does Lattakia have a key importance ?
 
The air defense system of the Region is stronger than lots of other regions in Syria, because of the Russian basis in Lattakia. In the result, the plane that comes because of discovering is an enemy according to the Regime of Damascus. It is natural to define and to make fall according to themselves; namely I think that there is not so many meaningful things in this situation. Moreover Russia’s approach with Syria is obvious and it is as persistant and stubborn as Iran. Nearly two years ago, Russian civil experts were expressing several thesis in the meetings such as “If we lose Syria, we can enter any other country in Caucasus.”. So, that was a significant indicator of Russia according to its determination and to appoint a policy about Syria.
 
There is an explanation like “Our Syria policy hasn’t been changed”. France has kept its silence. At the moment, while we are analyzing these calculations; there is a subject of a forecast policy about how most probably the nuclear agreements or the process of England related with Iran will be developed. As the effect of Iran is out of the equation; how will be the approaches of England, France and another allies?
 
The process with Iran will be determinant and then we can hear lots of new issues. Because despite of all negative conditions and embargo, Iran is a country who has been continuously strengthening the situation in which it is. It has done the same in Iraq, also in Yemen; and it has similar initiatives in the Gulf and Bahrain. In addition, It hasn’t a very serious background only in the West of Iran but also in the East of Iran; it has really serious background also in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. So, we can say that Iran is taking confident steps. It will be more efficient when it has had better integration with the international sytem and when it has reached better conditions. The normalization between the West and Iran will automatically bring the modification to the Syria policy. Even when there is nothing in front of the eyes. The explanation of England is highly natural; first of all, that can be cooked in the secondary diplomacy channels and then can be taken care in the official level. As for me, we are supposed to wait for the result of the agreement with Iran as a milestone for this situation. In this case, we should be in a search in a proactive way as Turkey.
 
That is real that the army of Iran is in Syria. First of all, its photos have been shared in the social media. And at the moment they have been clearly putting them. But there is a bitter side of the situation also; it is said that intense studies have been continuing in Turkmen mountains. How should we evaluate the situation of Turkmens in Syria?
 
I think that the situation of Turkmens are not comforting in the Region, in Iraq and so in Syria. Because there is a triangle bow; Turkmens of Iraq and Syria, who are in the triangle bow from the Northern Iraq to the Mediterranean, have been like police stations guarding instead of us approximately for 100 years and so they have been strategically so important. At the moment they have been losing this importance in a great level. They have highly various problems, security problems; and they have similar thousands of losses even because the abduction ransom that they have paid in a few years has led the great loss of their wealth. I have been evaluating that the situation of Turkmens of Iraq and Syria is really bad and will be worse. Moreover, if the police sitations in that bow opened to the Mediterranean in Iraq and Syria, namely the majority of Turkmens in the holding points will be reduced, that can create more risky process for Turkey - because of its strategical importance -. That can provide Kurdish factors to reach the Mediterranean and so that can reduce the strategical importance of Turkey in a great level and create another security risks. So I think that we should discuss about the situation of Turkmens. As for me, it is not only necessary to deal with this issue because of that is a spiritual and national subject or they are our kins, but also it is important according to the strategical power and historical benefits of Turkey.
 
As a final point, let’s talk a little about Israeli elections. Arab facade has become the third power in Israeli parliament by gaining 14 chairs. At the moment, that is also an important and rejoicing development. To gain such a power by Arab deputies and to strengthen more comparing the previous elections can create a possitive effect for the peace of the Middle East for the future? If we guess as the Extreme Right keeps on their pressive and violent policies by having the power; what can be the chance of Arab deputies in return?
 
It is important that they could make such a block move. There will be an important group in Israeli politics. As you know, Netanyahu has got an unexpectable great victory from the elections; so I don’t think that they can create lots of changes in structional mean. Also systematic doesn’t let it happen. The approach of Netanyahu has becoming more radicalized day by day. According to the international diplomacy, that will fail the negotiations maintained with Palestine. We can say that more difficult days are in front of the Region according to the problem of Israel-Palestine. Israel can move more comfortably in the Region; because as becoming deterrent for Israel; some factors, countries and armies have lost their ground in the Region. As long as important countries in the Region don’t have any high cooperations for the future - even Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been conflicting in several subjects and in a high competition - ; I think the foreign interventions in the Region won’t be able to be kept under-control. The new formul maker is to manage the high competition and high cooperation. Israel has been creating a ground strategically during the chaos in the Region; the armies of Syria and Iraq have been liquidated; the army of Iran has been under the embargo and the army of Egypt has made a coup. There have been experienced such things who have a corrupted image. As long as the strategical convensional power, human resource and the ability of management and organization in the Region have been reduced; there will be more advantaged picture for Israel. So it can make some more radical initiatives by the time.
 
( Süleyman ŞENSOY the Chairman of TASAM | Interview | TRT Turk News Agenda Programme | 21.03.2015 )
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