The pangs of Idlib - MEHMET ACET

The pangs of Idlib

When Russian fighter jets shelled the Idlib countryside the day before, the question arises whether this attack is the prelude to a much larger plan.

What comes to mind with a “comprehensive attack plan' is different than what took place on Tuesday.

It's called the Grozny model.

The Grozny model, deriving its name from the first place it was implemented, is the most brutal massacre which involves attacking all moving targets even hospitals and schools, seen towards the end of 2016 in Syria’s East Aleppo, and lastly in Ghouta.

If such brutality occurs once again, one of the consequential risks will be that hundreds of thousands of people will try to cross the Turkish border.

Therefore, it can be said that this is one of the points which Ankara is most concerned about in negotiations with the Russians.

On his way back from Kyrgyzstan, President Tayyip Erdoğan answered questions from this perspective.

"There are 3,5 million people there. God forbid! If missiles strike, this would lead to a very serious massacre. In such a case, where would the people go running? Most of them will take shelter in Turkey.”

Turkey can stop the Grozny model

The implementation of the Grozny model in Idlib can only be stopped by Turkey, through negotiations with the Russians.

And I think it will be just like that.

The trilateral summit to be held in Tehran with participation of the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran on Sept. 7 is the last shred of hope.

If we were to analyze Erdoğan's remarks in this context, the statement, "We will take the situation to a positive point at this summit. We will be able to hinder the Syrian government’s extremism in the region," reveals what Turkey is trying to prevent.

If we mention the Syria policy that Ankara has been trying to adopt since 2016, it may help us understand where Turkey stands regarding the Idlib issue.

One of the priorities is to end this war, which endangered Turkey's security and even its territorial integrity in the most severe way for six years, and to create a new climate for peace.

The second priority is to prevent the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s gains in the new equation, which will emerge with the end of the Syrian war.

The third is to manage the process in such a way as to prevent a new wave of migration due to the ongoing war.

Thanks to the Euphrates Shield and Afrin operations, the risk the PKK threat poses in Syria, which would affect the territorial integrity of Turkey, was alleviated.

We can understand how the idea of pushing the "Rojava model" on Turkey has emerged, recalling the ditch terrorism that was launched in the summer of 2015.

That threat was also eliminated from the border.

Keeping the terror threat on the other side of the border

The new immigrants may affect the policy of "keeping all terrorist elements on the other side of the border" that Turkish National Intelligence (MİT) head Hakan Fidan expressed shortly in a brief talk we had last year.

Considering these aspects, we can infer that Ankara primarily focuses on these issues regarding diplomacy efforts, which are actively operated with Russia, on Idlib.

Terror threats originating from Syria putting Turkey’s side of the border at even more risk is trying to be avoided.

This is the deal.

The good thing for Turkey in this regard is that Moscow cares about Ankara's concerns thanks to the positive momentum after the Astana process and the improvement in bilateral relations.

The diplomacy traffic that started with the visit of National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and MIT President Hakan Fidan to Moscow on Aug. 17 shows that the Russians continue to cooperate with Ankara.

For this reason, we anticipate that the Grozny model, which could lead to a massive civilian massacre and a huge exodus from Idlib, will not be implemented.


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