Turkey has been pondering the answer to this question for a while.
In his speech in Ukraine the day before yesterday, and in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu answered this question: “If there is a threat of war in Syria, Turkey will never be the one to cause it; we have been keeping Turkey out of the war for five years. In order to be away from the war, namely to avoid the security problems just next to it, we have been taking security measures.”
I was not satisfied with only the prime minister's statements. I tried to take the pulse on this issue. Turkey does not have a plan to go to war alone in Syria. On the contrary, there is intense effort to keep the war in Syria away from Turkey.
In order to keep the threat of war away, Turkey has been showing a dissuasive power.
An old saying reflective of the situation is: “To secure peace is to prepare for war.”
Turkey sees coalition partners to go to a ground operation in Syria as a must. This is not a new theory for Turkey, but in light of recent developments it has been raised again.
When a coalition against Daesh in Syria was formed under the leadership of the US, Turkey defended that an airborne intervention alone would not be enough.
Twenty-two countries have been continuing operations on Daesh, but Daesh could not be slowed down. But this is not a funny situation, is it? Turkey argued that if the air operation was continued in coordination with the ground operation, it would be successful. The picture we see shows that Turkey is right.
In a period in which the war in Syria caused big waves of migration, Turkey proposed declaration of no-fly zones, establishing a safe zone. The US did not show any interest in this. The danger came to this point snowballing. We should not have listened to the US that day.
The idea of establishing a safe zone in the depth of Jarablous has been evaluated by forming an actual state. Russia had not yet officially joined the Syrian war at that time.
It is harder to establish a safe zone with Russian jets hovering over us or without the umbrella of NATO.
With the fall of the Azaz-Tel Rifaat line, and the threat of 400,000 to 500,000 Syrian refugees approaching the borders emerging, this time we brought the safe zone formula to the agenda again.
Turkey has already gone inside the Syrian border and formed eight camps. There are 77,000 Syrians being sheltered there. But if this number reaches 400,000-500,000, a no-fly zone should be declared. If a safe zone is formed to provide security there, Turkey has been planning to enter 10 kilometers within the border.
On the safe zone issue, Turkey has a plan consisting of two alternatives:
1- Let it be under the coalition umbrella.
2- Let it be under the NATO umbrella.
If a positive response comes from the US to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's call, coalition planes will guarantee the safety of this region from air. If the US does not support this, the NATO formula will be the remaining alternative. After the fall of Tel Rifaat, Azaz may fall anytime. With Aleppo, half a million people will head toward the Turkish border. This issue is no longer a Syrian civil war; it has turned into a national security issue for Turkey.
Turkish borders are at the same time the borders of NATO. By destroying this region Russians are not only targeting Turkey but at the same time striking a blow against the NATO alliance.
What will happen if Turkey cannot keep these refugees in the secure regions which will be established inside the Syrian border?
As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remarked, Syrian refugees will head toward European countries. If NATO takes action by seeing the new migration as a threat to its own borders, under the protection of Turkey on the ground and under the umbrella of NATO by air 10-25 kilometers inside the Syrian borders, a safe zone can be established.
Thanks to the plans of the US, Russia entered Syria.
So it started an operation process that will endanger the future of the NATO alliance.
If NATO cannot take initiative on the safe zone, after a while it will become an alliance defeated against Russia. The situation is severe. In the last 48 hours Turkey and Germany have been making intense efforts to push the US into action. Russia has been striking, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has been advancing, whereas the US has been watching.
While I was writing these lines, the color of the US wasn't definite.
The US was not pleased with Turkey's attack on the People's Protection Units (YPG) with the Fırtına howitzers, because there was another plan on the US's mind.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "The Americans want to give that region to the Kurds," when he came to the G20 Summit.
Now Putin and US President Barack Obama are putting this plan into action, hand in hand.
In the invasion of Iraq, the US cooperated with the Barzani and Talabani forces. With the protection of the US and support of the Assad regime, cantons have been established for the PYD in Syria.
The US has been establishing a second Qandil in Sinjar for the outlawed PKK. But this second Qandil is more dangerous than the first one. Qandil is 290 kilometers away from Turkey, whereas Sinjar is 30-35 kilometers away. The US has been extending the runway of the Abu Hacer Airport to 2.5 kilometers just next to Sinjar to enable the landing of fighter jets. The outlawed PKK has settled into the region between Abu Hacer Airport and Sinjar. Mount Sinjar was on the agenda during the attacks of Daesh on the Yazidis. Sinjar is in Barzani's region.
Cold winds have been blowing between Barzani and the US for some time now. The US is giving the control of the side of the Mount Sinjar looking at the Abu Hacer Airport to the PKK. A buffer zone is being established between Barzani's peshmergas and Abu Hacer.
Ahead of the peshmerga forces there is Daesh, which keeps control of Mosul in its hands. Between Daesh and the PKK there is a region that consists of peshmergas, whereas between the peshmergas and Americans there is a region that consists of the outlawed PKK.
Sinjar's becoming the second Qandil is a project to which the US attaches importance. Mustafa Karasu and Sofi Nurettin have been assigned from the PKK. Even Sofi Nurettin was identified in the region last week.