By Gareth Jenkins
September 1, 2022
Recent Turkish calls for dialogue with the Syrian government to try to end the country’s civil war are primarily driven by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fears about his own domestic political survival ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2023. But they are also a tacit admission of the catastrophic failure of Turkey’s policies in Syria, the costs of which are likely to haunt whoever governs in Ankara for years to come.
By Michaël Tanchum
August 29, 2022
With Russia bogged down in its war against Ukraine, Turkey announced its plans to conduct another military operation in northern Syria. At the July 19, 2022 Turkey-Russia-Iran Summit on Syria, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan found Moscow and Tehran largely unaccomodating of Ankara’s plans in contrast to Turkey’s previous four interventions. Yet Turkey could use a distracted Russia’s inability to restrain Iran’s strategic designs in Syria as the basis to build a new Middle Eastern consensus for a Syrian intervention, as Egypt, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are each opposed to Iran’s presence in Syria. Aided by the fact that Turkey has recently engaged in a rapprochement with each of these actors, Ankara will need to convince them of two things to receive tacit consent – a new military intervention would indeed blunt Iran’s advances and that further entrenching Turkish control in northern Syria would not empower jihadi militant and Islamist extremists.
By Aykan Erdemir and Luc Sasseville
April 27, 2020
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions in Syria have resulted in a two-pronged intervention, as Ankara targets the Bashar al-Assad regime in the war-torn country’s northwest and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council in the northeast. The coronavirus pandemic, along with Turkey’s economic crisis, jihadist attacks against Turkish forces in Idlib, and infighting among Turkish proxies will all pose obstacles to Erdoğan’s plans in Syria. It is, however, far from certain that these challenges will have a restraining effect on the foreign and security policy of the Turkish regime.
By Michaël Tanchum
March 25, 2020
On March 15, 2020, Turkey and Russia conducted their first joint patrol along the M-4 highway in Syria's Idlib province, implementing the terms a ceasefire accord that ended the direct military confrontation between Turkey and Russia. Ankara will prioritize avoiding further confrontation and cooperate with Moscow in order to consolidate Turkey's position in northern Syria. The degree to which Moscow reciprocates Turkey's gestures in Idlib will be the measure of how much Moscow is able and willing to accommodate Turkey's interests in northern Syria.
By Micha’el Tanchum
February 20, 2020
The Turkey-Russia relationship is in the midst of a major reset. The outbreak of hostilities in Syria's Idlib province has left thirteen Turkish soldiers dead and seven Turkish military posts under siege by Russian-backed Syrian government forces. Prior policy convergences between Turkey and Russia had raised speculation about the prospect of a Turkish-Russian strategic partnership dominating the security architecture on Europe's southern borders. However, Ankara seems to have overplayed its hand in what is fundamentally a transactional relationship with Moscow. A total rupture in Turkish-Russian cooperation is unlikely, even in the event of a Turkish counter-offensive. However, Russia's reduced cooperation with Turkey will likely result in Russia's further development of more robust strategic partnerships with Turkey's rivals – the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.