We know now that just as Russia cannot exactly figure out what is behind the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria, it is concerned of a likely rapport between Ankara and Washington.
It tested the waters on Friday: when news that Syrian regime troops entered Manbij and raised its flag had surfaced, Moscow sanctified the news in favor of Damascus, as if to confirm the report.
In other words, Russia weighed the U.S.'s "Kurd card," Assad's political integrity, and its deal with Ankara - on a day thatthe Turkish delegation was preparing to go to Russia.
Turkey noticed this too: "Apocryphal statements are being made within the scope of developments regarding Manbij. We warn all parties to avoid provocative actions and discourse that will further destabilize the region."
Essentially, Russia knows what response Turkey will give to regime forces well. The promise, "If there is any attack on our troops there, we will make life hell for them," made with respect to Idlib applies here too.
In other words, Russia was not weighing up Turkey.
Hence, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statement, "We are considering the operation Turkey will launch in terms of ensuring Syria's territorial integrity once again," which followed the Manbij statement, shows that Ankara's path is clear, but in time it will face the demand to "leave now" - after the region has been cleared.
Did the president not say on the same day, "Our aim is to remove terrorist organizations from there. In the event that the terrorist organizations leave, there will be nothing more left for us to do"? That is all.
Have we understood the 'most fundamental principle' of Turkey's security policy?
So, did Russia see the result of its Manbij attempt?
The helicopters of the U.S. military, which quickly hovered over the region and remained there for a "significant" amount of time, must have put forth an idea of whom they will not leave the ground to rather than to whom they will. Furthermore, Pentagon's announcement that "News that the Assad regime has entered Manbij do not reflect the truth," which was made following the developments, means, "I am still here."
One other suspicion of the last 48 hours is related to the image that that the expectation of an operation aimed at Manbij is kind of pushing the military attempt expected on the east of the Euphrates to the sidelines.
Perhaps it slipped your attention on Friday, but the president said, "The matter is not Manbij alone, it is our operation aimed at eliminating terrorist organizations there."
The presidency's statement, "We are going to continue to be both on the ground and at the diplomacy table. We can say also that this is actually the most fundamental principle of Turkey's foreign policy and security policy," needs to be kept in mind.
At the time of writing this article, the high-level meetings between Turkey and Russia had not yet concluded and official statements had not yet been made. We are going to pursue both what was said and was not said since that moment onward. Then, we are going to focus on the Americans who will be coming to Turkey.
Taking advantage of this short break, we need conclude a matter.
Those investing in the idea that 'a Turkey cornered on the ground will lose at the ballot box'
The "local" comments with respect to the White House basing its decision to withdraw on American interior policy moves are interesting. While a super power's open and active attacks on the Middle East and Turkey and its potential threats are obvious, while the "order to withdraw," which seems like they have withdrawn from everything, can be seen on the ground too, in other words, while the physical developments are taking place outside the U.S., what could their efforts to explain this with "internal reasons only" signify?
Saying that withdrawal "is a decision coming from the U.S.'s internal balances," means that "Turkey has nothing to do with the matter, it has no influence, and Ankara has achieved nothing."
Why does Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu feel the need to say, "Turkey is the most important actor in the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria"?
Why do those who list the actors as Pentagon, the Department of State, the CIA, and the White House, who closely watch the Russia case against U.S. President Donald Trump, the real competition with China and the Global Coalition, turn their heads to Turkey, which is pushing the U.S. away from its border?
How quick are the advocators of this understanding, which has no connection to not only context but also to the process, to forget that all the internal political positions that have a command of the U.S.'s interior politics are dug up by the fronts that want to determine the path Washington will choose in foreign politics?
In other words, "internal political reasons" are as related to foreign politics as the action taken.
Do you know why they do not see this, why they forget it? It is because those who defame Turkey consider the internal political wars of the U.S., which you are trying to remove from your borders - and as a matter of fact, from within the country itself- the sole reason, are the front of Turkey's interior politics that think the grass is greener on the other side.
Going into the elections, silent/vocal opposition groups would have preferred to see a Turkey that has forcefully joined hands with Assad in order to finally say “See? What we said with regards to Assad did indeed happen.”
What about Turkey?
Whether Turkey wins or loses, does it matter for them?
How heart-wrenching, is it not?
But it is what it is. We always bleed on the inside.