The Turkish-promoted so-called Arab Spring in Syria has backfired on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. Each passing day further drags Turkey deeper into the quick-sands of Syria. And Mr. Erdogan is not too happy about it.
In Egypt’s popular uprising, Turkey initially ignored the plight of the Egyptian people, and sided with Dictator Pres. Hosni Mubarak. Then Ankara switched sides. In Tunisia’s uprising Turkey remained undecided. In Libya, Ankara’s fear of losing huge business contracts with Qaddafi’s regime made PM Erdogan hesitant to take sides with the Libyan people exposing Turkey to widespread criticism and accusations of hypocrisy in the Arab media.
Then, nearly eighteen months ago, the so-called Arab Spring was exported to Syria.
Hypnotized by success stories of the Arab Springs in North Africa, and embarrassed by his own flip-flopping, Turkey’s Erdogan quickly embraced a similar ‘spring’ in Syria.
He miscalculated by hoping that the Syrian people would turn against their own government. So he turned against his ‘brother’ President Bashar el-Assad, the ruler of Syria.
Only a few weeks ago Erdogan had boasted, in reference to the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo, “I believe the Assad regime draws to its end with each passing day.”
However Syria and its people surprised Turkey and her allies triggering discord, frustration and severe in-fighting among the partners — Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and among various opposition groups, unleashing deeply-rooted panic with Mr. Erdogan. He became so desperate to cover up his failure in Syria that he resorted to making false claims that a Turkish-grounded Syrian civilian airplane passing Turkey’s airspace contained “equipment and munitions sent for the Syrian Defense Ministry from a Russian institution.”
Turkish international embarrassment over the Turkish Prime Minister’s false claims reached a boiling point whenU.S., Russian and Syrian officials refuted Turkish premier’s claims. Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, Erdogan “continues to lie in order to justify his government’s hostile attitude towards Syria.”
Compounding Mr. Erdogan’s problems is the fact that Turkey’s protégés – the Syrian rebels have been suffering a chain of recent setbacks.
The message from Paris and London is that the French and British killed in Syria were not agents on a secret mission but fanatics who acted on their own initiative. This is obviously false because certain of these jihadists were carrying communication instruments of NATO specification, supplied by France and the United Kingdom. Whatever the case, these events are marking the end of the Franco-British involvement alongside the Free Syrian Army, while Damascusdiscreetly exchanges its prisoners. A page has been turned, wrote Thierry Meyssan of Voltaire Network.
“Though the initial defeats suffered by the jihadists could have been attributed to a tactical error or to an incompetent commander, after the sixth debacle another hypothesis must be considered: that NATO is willingly sending these combatants to their deaths. … The jihadists have been left to their own devices, without any real coordination. They could be recruited by any number of actors, as the recent assassination of the U.S. Ambassador in Libya confirms. As a result, Washington wants to unload this risky and burdensome rabble or at the very least reduce their number. The orders that NATO gives to the jihadists are designed to expose them to fire by the Syrian Arab Army which is eliminating them en masse,” underlined Meyssan.
“Under the circumstances, one can understand the frustration of Turkey and the Wahhabist monarchies who at the request of the Alliance invested in the secret war unreservedly, but who now must assume alone the failure of the operation. Going for broke, Ankara threw itself into a series of provocations designed to prevent NATO from pulling out. Anything goes, from firing of Turkish artillery into Syrian territory to pirating of a civil airline,” he concluded.
The more the Syrian rebels’ popularity in Aleppo sinks, the higher Prime Minister Erdogan’s blood pressure rises.
“As Aleppo continues to deteriorate, many residents are losing patience with an increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition. It isn’t just civilians who are tiring of the rebellion. Some who have fought from the beginning have had their faith shaken as well,” Western media reported.
“Arms supplies to Syrian rebels dry up amid rivalries and divisions. In Aleppo there is still no sign of the heavy weapons for which the rebels have pleaded and ammunition is running low,” stated another news outlet.
In an effort to explain why Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has gone hysterical over the defeats inflicted on the insurgents fighting against the Syrian government, Press TV quoted a Washington-based author and historian Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley who said on Saturday: “Erdogan was told repeatedly by Obama in their private telephone conversations that the Syrian government would collapse like a house of cards and he could then emerge as the hero of that regime change.”
In an interview with Press TV, James Jatras, former US Senate Foreign Policy analyst, talked about Turkey’s plans in Syria saying “it is very unclear what Turkey’s ultimate goal is in this really reckless dangerous and provocative behavior. We have seen not only a war of words but acts of war in form of aiding the terrorists in Syria, the stopping of this aircraft that was referred to earlier, the dispatch of fighter planes to the border with Syria, the artillery duel that is going on with Syria, it seems that Turkey is behaving in a deliberately provocative and irresponsible way and no doubt it feels it can do that because it has the backing of the United States and NATO and is prepared to invoke Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty [NATO] if the Syrians respond. What is also troubling about this is that everyone knows that this is very controversial inside Turkey, that many Turkish citizens are opposed to Mr. Erdogan’s provocative and dangerous policies. It is hard to see where this goes but it does not look like it is going any place good.”
While Turkey is vying to become a regional superpower, Erdogan’s appetite for hegemony in the Sunni world puts Turkey in a collision course against Sunni Egyptian presidency and Saudi monarchy. Additionally, the Turkish state feels overwhelmed by the economic, political and possibly military fallout caused by its huge failure in Syria. The alternative is to simply acknowledge defeat, close down shop in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria and go home.
Otherwise Ankara faces the imminent danger of a Syrian brand of Vietnam-style protracted war that wrecks havoc on the home front — an insurmountable political liability no Turkish politician can afford.