President Erdoğan, who spoke at the AK Party Parliament Group Meeting yesterday, heated up the Syria agenda again with fresh statements.
Delegations coming from the U.S., visits to Russia, meetings between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump, spare safe zone suggestions...
These headlines, which determined quite a few agendas in January, were left in the shadow of the election atmosphere in the last week.
It seems that Ankara is back to the thought that "The U.S. is going to leave things hanging and use the distraction tactic." We understand this from Erdoğan's following statement:
"We are holding productive and hopeful meetings with Mr. Trump on these subjects. We are unable to achieve the same productivity in lower level meetings. There is currently no concrete plan laid before us. Our patience is not unlimited."
These statements reflect the chronic state of the Syria negotiations with Washington. In other words, Trump makes a decision, Ankara determines a new position according to this, but the U.S. administration and institutions strive to drag it on through distractions and weaken the decision made.
Despite close to two months having passed since Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria, as there have been no real signs that this decision will be applied, Erdoğan, who said, "We are postponing the operation," when the decision to withdraw was made, started to give a date again yesterday. He gave a time limit of a few weeks for Manbij, and a few months for the east of the Euphrates in terms of a Turkish military intervention.
Every sentence in the president's following statement requires careful emphasis:
"If the terrorists are not removed from Manbij in a few weeks, our waiting period will be over. We will gain the right to realize our own plans. When push comes to shove, we do not have to ask for anyone’s permission or answer to anybody. No threat, including the sanctions list, can turn us back from this path. All the tribes in the region are asking when we are coming. I clearly gave all these instructions to fellows holding the meetings. If the people in the east of the Euphrates are unable to institute their own administration with Turkey's help within a few months, our waiting period will end again."
It is clear what "a few weeks" means. Considering that we start to count the months after four weeks, we can consider that the maximum period for Manbij is one month.
'You can't stop us with the economy stick'
Let us remember the Turkey tweet Trump posted one midnight. What had he said? "We will devastate Turkey economically if they attack the Kurds."
After this tweet, Erdoğan called Trump to say whatever he had to say to his face, and had not made harsh statements in front of the public to avoid further escalating the matter.
In his speech yesterday, for the first time, the president made two statements indicating that no retracting steps would be taken even in the case that the U.S. plays the economy card:
"Nothing can stop us in this regard, not even sanctions lists. We are going to fulfill the promises we made to our people in our Syria policy regardless of whatever it takes."
All this can be interpreted as:
After weakening Washington's moves to stop Turkey, including the threat "We will devastate your economy," Ankara has sent the ball to the other side. Let us see what kind of reflex will be shown this time.
We know this much:
In the event that the U.S. administration sees that the economy stick does not work, it will really have a tough time taking a new rabbit out of its hat this time.