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US-Turkey Tie-Up Important to Stabilize Multi-Faceted Conflict in Syria: Insider

While the United States and Turkey have not been on the friendliest of terms, an insider says the emerging geopolitical situation in Syria has pushed the NATO allies to collaborate because it is necessary for both of them.

Erbil Gunasti, who worked for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for five years as a press officer and is the author of “GameChanger,” an upcoming book on the U.S.-Turkey relationship, said the multi-faceted conflict in Syria can be stabilized by Turkey with help from the United States.

“And that is exactly what they are doing, instead of the baloney everybody is talking about how it is a humanitarian disaster etc. that the Turks are going after Kurds,” he said.

Gunasti considers the U.S.-Turkey tie-up an important factor in bringing a balance of power and peace in the middle east.

“The balance of power in the Middle East can be established promptly between the Iranians, Turks, and Arabs,” he said. “But first, the U.S. must work with Turkey, like President Trump started to do with President Erdogan—that is the first condition. The second condition is for Turkey to stabilize Syria with the help of the U.S.”

In an analysis titled “The origins of New US-Turkish Relations,” founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures George Friedman talks about the same “geopolitical necessity” behind why the United States is compelled to accommodate Turkey.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan told an assembly of politicians in Ankara on August 14 that Turkey will boycott US electronic products. (Turkish Presidency Pool via Reuters)
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan told an assembly of politicians in Ankara on August 14 that Turkey will boycott US electronic products. (Turkish Presidency Pool via Reuters)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told an assembly of politicians in Ankara on Aug. 14 that Turkey will boycott US electronic products. (Turkish Presidency Pool via Reuters)

“Their relationship has been turbulent, and while it may continue to be so for a while, it will decline,” said Friedman. “Their accommodation has nothing to do with mutual affection but rather with mutual necessity. The Turkish incursion into Syria and the U.S. response are part of this adjustment, one that has global origins and regional consequences.”

Containment of Russia and Iran

An Atlantic Council report released almost two months before Operation Peace Spring describes the “political and military dynamics in Syria playing at two different levels, with the non-state, Kurdish majority [SDF] engaged in a complex set of negotiations with state-level actors, including the Syrian regime, Russia, the United States, and Turkey.

“In parallel, these state actors are involved with different—and often competing—local actors, each with their own demands for post-conflict governance in Syria.”

Gunasti said that the United States should not have allied with the mainly-Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit (YPG) to deal with the ISIS terrorist group.

“The U.S. should not have aligned itself with a terrorist organization in the first place,” he said, adding, “The U.S. could have had soldiers from any one of the other 192 countries contributing to the U.S. troops to confront ISIS in Syria.”

He said if the United States had chosen Turkey instead, neither Russia, nor Iran, would have been in Syria today.

“Nor would Bashar al-Assads regime be there. In 2012, then-Prime Minister Erdogan made an offer to President Obama. Turkey was to go in and take out the Assad regime by force with logistic support from the U.S. President Obama made a mistake and refused it. As a result, today, the U.S. is kicked out of Syria.

“It is not that President Trump pulled the U.S. troops out of Syria. It is rather the U.S. was told to leave Syria by the international system,” he said.

Gunasti said its because of this situation that Russia is likely to be in Syria for the next 50 years, “so long as Russia keeps a growing relationship with Turkey for the foreseeable future.

“Iran, too, will remain in Syria in some form or another, filling the vacuum left behind by the Western powers,” he said adding that Russia needs Turkey to grow economically and militarily and will maintain their relationship for at least the next decade.

“Iran and Turkey have had a balance of power between them since the 1514 Battle of Chaldiran,” said Gunasti. “They will keep their relationship in check, and neither will cross the line that they both know is there. For example, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Turkey will acquire the same right at the same time, if not before Iran.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) pose for a picture after a news conference during their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Sept. 16, 2019. (Pavel Golovkin/AP Photo)

Friedmans explanation was similar: “Turkeys importance is clear. It is courted by both Russia and Iran.” He mentioned, however, that Turkeys relationships with the two are unpredictable because Turkey has many times fought wars against them.

“But Turkey is well aware of history. It is also aware that the U.S. guaranteed Turkish sovereignty in the face of Soviet threats in the Cold War, and that the U.S., unlike Russia and Iran, has no territorial ambitions or needs in Turkey,” he said.

“For Turkey, in the long term, Russia and Iran are unpredictable, and they can threaten Turkey when they work together. The American interest in an independent Turkey that blocks Russia and Iran coincides with long-term Turkish interests,” Friedman added.

Gunasti said it is this geopolitical necessity that brings the United States and Turkey together.

“So, you understand the other reason why President Trump pulled the U.S. troops out of Syria that President Obama never had the wisdom to understand,” he said. “President Obama simply lost Turkey … President Trump is trying to win it back with the Syrian pullout and other measures in place, but has not announced publicly yet.”

Friedman says that its this geopolitical situation thats behind Trumps action on the Syrian border, and it “will result in President Recep Tayyip Erdogans visit to Washington and, in due course, a realignment in the region between the global power and the regional power.”

Refugee Crisis Emboldens Turkey

Gunasti said that the refugee crisis in the middle east has given Turkey unique leverage because its the land bridge between the middle east and Europe.

“President Erdogan told President Trump before he pulled the U.S. troops out of Syria that his alternative was to let the 4 million Syrian refugees march [into Europe]. Not only President Trump but also Chancellor Angela Merkel knew, if they didRead More – Source

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