Time for Turkey to settle accounts in Syria - YASIN AKTAY

Time for Turkey to settle accounts in Syria

A nation is being systematically destroyed by means of genocide in broad daylight. The Bashar al-Assad regime is planning and making haste to continue his sovereignty over a depopulated, vacant Syria by destroying a people that do not want him. Unable to fight against his own people, whose uprising was harsh and severe, he sought to get help from Russia and Iran to eradicate his own people in exchange for making available to them his lands. The Syrian people are the victims of this disgraceful, criminal solidarity. The result is the loss of more than 1 million Syrian lives, hundreds of thousands wounded and the displacement of two-thirds of its population.

Currently, 4 million of the total Syrian population, which was estimated at 22 million when the crisis broke out, live on Turkish territory, and at least 6 million are living in Idlib and the Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch and Peace Spring Operation areas. This means, the number of Syrians, whose lives, property, honor and humane needs are under Turkey’s protection, has reached 10 million, which corresponds to a much greater number of those under the administration of the Syrian regime. This is based on the fact that with the 1.5 million Syrians who have taken refuge in each of Jordan, Lebanon and all of Europe, as well as the 1 million Syrians who have migrated to other Arab countries or elsewhere, this figure totals to 15.5 million. So, with the exclusion of those who have died in areas under Assad’s control, it becomes clear that there is only 5-6 million people remaining.

Thus, the Assad regime reached the current point today thorough his willingness to sacrifice three-quarters of the country’s population through the most oppressive and most inhumane ways of establishing control in a country, while doing it all under the world’s eyes.

As he burned down the cities, as children died horrific deaths under his bombs, as those fleeing the bombs raining over them only to pile up at the borders where human tragedies unfold, the world did nothing other than watch. Hence, as long as these refugees did not knock on Europe’s doors, everything experienced there remained as trivial news only. This is why solving this problem in Syria was never a matter of urgency for them. Turkey was accepting refugees, assuming their responsibility, feeding them, providing them clothes and shelter anyway.

Yet, regardless of Turkey’s aid, the genocide of a nation is at stake here and something needs to be done to counter this. Europeans who stir up a love of justice, pursuing events that happened 105 years, when the occasion arises, are today displaying indifference in the face of a genocide that is taking place right before its very eyes. This is also a declaration of the failure of all its values and claims. However, this failure does not absolve them from its liability or responsibility with respect to the events happening.

While recalling the responsibility towards refugees, Turkey does not only refer to taking in refugees or helping them. Before anything, it intends to use its influence to put an end to the inhumane war that is leading to these migrations. Otherwise, to further put things bluntly, while the primary culprit for these migrations is the regime, Russia and Iran are also responsible due to their partnership with Assad through their disgraceful deal and cooperation. Europe’s responsibility starts with its lack of pressure on the regime and its collaborators with respect to stopping Assad, its disregard towards immediately tackling the matter and finding a solution and, of course, in the second stage, this responsibility continues with its failure to fulfill its dues with respect to this migration – on which this neglect also has a major effect.

If it were not for Turkey, the majority of those able to escape the inhumane slaughter in Syria would have found themselves in Europe. Turkey had been forming a very strong defense shield to Europe for years to prevent these migrations from reaching Europe. However, in time, this defense shield provided a comfort for Europe that prevented it from taking a more serious approach to the problem. As a matter of fact, in time, some Europeans who were spoiled by this comfort and complacency started to arrogantly question the measures Turkey wanted to take to prevent further refugee influx, let alone support Turkey. They started to question what Turkey was doing in Idlib, in Syria. Refugees who have reached the European border are now going to explain in the best and most convincing way possible exactly what Turkey is doing in Idlib. Let us see if the Europeans in our midst can be convinced by this same wave of refugees?

Thus, while launching the Spring Shield Operation, Turkey simultaneously removed the barriers stopping the refugees who had entered the country to cross over to Europe. It did this without forcing anybody to go anywhere. Turkey is not forcing anybody that somehow found a way to take shelter in the country to leave. However, those refugees have the right to be discontented with the hope they found in Turkey as well; this is all that Turkey can offer. Of course, the path is open to those who want to leave, provided that they are not forced to leave.

Meanwhile, neither Assad nor Russia and Iran that have been shamelessly supporting him in this operation can consider that they purged Syria for themselves by means of exiling the country’s population to Turkey or outside of Syria.

The rights of the Syrian people, who have had no choice but to escape their murders, are reserved. Ten million of them are currently on territory protected by Turkey and they will eventually return to their own land. For example, three quarters of Aleppo’s population is in Idlib, Turkey or in areas under Turkey’s control. The same applies to Hama, Homs and Raqqa.

In short, the ledger has now been started with Turkey’s initiative and the account will be settled based on this understanding.

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