Erdogan Puts Aside Policy Of Assad’s Removal

KABUL: (Middle East Press) Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the Turkish president has demanded the Syrian president to leave the power, suggesting it as the only available breakthrough. However, freshly, he has retreated from his former position, saying that in the transitional stage Bashar al-Assad can be as part of a solution for the Syrian crisis. Likewise, in recent weeks, the Western countries have yielded to political and peaceful solutions to Syrian crisis.

The Western countries and some regional governments have taken more flexible stances as the terrorist group ISIS’s advances in Iraq and Syria have kept preceding, and the issue of refugees has turned to be a problem for the European countries. Supporting terrorist groups in Syria during last five years in order to overthrow the Syrian president, the Turkish president in his fresh remarks has taken a smoother standing towards developments in Syria. In a different position, Erdogan said that Bashar al-Assad could be engaged in the transitional stage as part of a settlement for Syrian four-and-half-a-year crisis. “A transition process with or without al-Assad is possible,” Al Mayadeen news network quoted Erdogan as saying on Thursday. The Turkish media assessed Erdogan’s remarks as indication of a shift in Ankara’s policy towards al-Assad. Erdogan’s words came as American, British, German and French officials have taken the same stance. Changing his position on Syrian president, the US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Bashar al-Assad has to step down, however, not necessarily immediately after a solution for ending the war in Syria is reached.

Syrian president’s opponents have understood that the military choices whether by the Syrian government or by its opposing sides cannot come out with useful results, and there is no solution but the political one. Analysts say Erdogan’s policy shift could shock the Arab regimes because they view Ankara as their main base of activities against the Syrian government, as they greatly count on its supports.

In recent years, Turkey has been the main route for transferring terrorists to Syria, as the many published documents prove Turkey has been sending arms to the terrorist groups in Syria, and other proofs suggested Ankara’s officials had arranged meetings with the terrorists’ supporters. President Erdogan had set prioritizing removal of president al-Assad as a precondition to join the anti-ISIS coalition, and until just recent weeks he has been insisting on establishing a no-fly zone over Syria’s north. The West and Turkey have persisted on warmongering policies in Syria while Iran and Russia have emphasized on diplomatic initiatives to settle the crisis in the country.

Russia’s recent weeks military buildup in Syria has forced some changes in policies and positions of sides opposing the Syrian government, to the point that they are now highlighting the significance of cooperation and coordination with Russia in order to eradicate the terrorism in Syria. Following the US acceding to military collaboration with Russia, the Turkish and Israeli officials, after visiting Moscow and meeting with the Russian president Vladimir Putin, have changed their standings on president al-Assad and the Syrian crisis generally. Washington set a plan to train Syrian opposition forces, believing that it could help topple  president Bashar al-Assad to finalize their win, however, the American officials confessed the training program was totally a “ failure”, a fiasco which pushed Syria’s adversaries to, against their will, work with Russia, setting their hopes on playing a role in Syria’s future. Moreover, the massive influx of refugees flowing to Europe in recent weeks has sounded the alarm bell for the anti-Damascus front, driving it to desist from militaristic policies and highlight the political option to put an end to the crisis in the country.

Being the major supporter of the Syrian government, president Putin has reiterated Russia’s supporting to the president Bashar al-Assad. Iran’s ISNA has reported that the Russian president in an interview with the CBS was asked if the objective of Russian military actions in Syria was to aid the president al-Assad’s government, and president Putin said yes, adding that all the measures were being made to achieve the goal. President Putin also said that all those who were working to remove the Syrian government, later created a situation in Syria just like Iraq and Libya, where all the official governing organs disappeared. The only way to put an end to the crisis in the country is to strengthen the government’s organs, and to back the Syrian government in its war against terrorism, added the Russian president. Recently, Russia has beefed up its military presence in Syria, as it directly helped the country’s army in its confrontation of the terrorist groups, a move which has infuriated the US and some European countries. Russia argues it has never hidden its aid to Syria.

After Russia has threatened that it would act unilaterally against the terrorist group ISIS in Syria in case the US fails to cooperate, the Pentagon has spoken of the possibility of collaboration with the Russians. Commenting on the possible Moscow-Washington joint military work in Syria, the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that as long as the common interests of the two countries overlap, working together is likely. Earlier, talking about rejecting Russia as part of anti-ISIS coalition in Syria, and then speaking of necessity of arranging any Russian strikes against ISIS within the US-led Coalition, according to Reuters, Carter is now pointing, in an obvious shift, to the spheres of common interests between Russia and the US. “ It is possible, but not yet clear, that such an overlap might exist in Syria, “ said the Pentagon’s chief. However, he repeated the US long standing point of view, saying that there must be a move in Syria towards a political solution without president Bashar al-Assad.


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