About National Unity… How Do We Stand Up To Turkification?
Saad Saeb Saad Saeb

About National Unity… How Do We Stand Up To Turkification?

“What should be given great attention, is not only the necessary struggle against the de facto division that currently exists within the geographical coordinates, the attempts of the West and the Zionists to perpetuate it, and the support this partition plan gets from the extremists from the Syrian sides, but there should also be work to address the human factor of the partition process, which divides Syrians into millions against millions, between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘patriots’ and ‘traitors’, etc.” (Editorial, Kassioun, Issue no. 1020)

Direct Turkish aggression on Syrian soil began in August 2016 with the operation that Turkey called the “Euphrates Shield”. We say: “direct aggression” because the aggression in its indirect forms had started years before that.

The “Euphrates Shield” operation ended with the Turks taking control of areas in northern Syria that are now referred to by the same name, i.e. the Euphrates Shield areas (which are Jarablus, Azaz, and Al-Bab in the northern countryside and eastern countryside of Aleppo), to distinguish them from the areas occupied by the Turks during the two subsequent military operations in 2018 and 2019, i.e. the areas of the “Olive Branch” aggression (Afrin and its surrounding areas), and the “Spring of Peace” aggression (a border strip east of the Euphrates River that includes Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad, and other areas).

In addition, there is (more or less) Turkish influence in the areas officially controlled by al-Nusra Front, in addition to a few small pockets of Hurras al-Din, al-Turkistani, and others. As important as the previous facts are, there is also the fact that all estimates agree that the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey exceeds three million at a minimum.

Additional Dangers

In addition to the direct military occupation, or through some factions that are now operating directly under Turkish command, there are a series of dangerous measures and practices that have been perpetuated during the past two years.

Among these procedures is the issue of using the Turkish lira in trading instead of the Syrian one, and the display of the Turkish flag, pictures of the Turkish president, and other Turkish symbols everywhere and in every detail. Perhaps most dangerous of all is teaching thousands and thousands of children the Turkish language and culturally and spiritually linking them with Turkey as the “mother country”.

If the Turkish hand is the mainstay in this process, and by using some Syrians, especially among the extremists in the opposition, some of whom have become direct war lords, and dealers of border crossings and checkpoints, there is something that enhances this process (i.e., the Turkification), which is its intersection with the general US work with regards to Syria. We have already discussed that latter at length in many Kassioun articles, and it revolves around perpetuating the de facto division, prolonging its duration, and perpetuating the quagmire.

We say that there is an intersection and not a congruence between the US and Turkey in this issue, because the ideal goal for the US is to turn the de facto division into an actual and permanent division and to a fragmentation. Though this end result contradicts Turkey’s national security interest, because the process of the fragmentation of Syria with the complexity and overlapping of the population, demographic, and political structure between Syria and all the countries of the region, including Turkey, will have a detonating effect of a fragmentary domino chain throughout the region, and in Turkey in particular.

Then Where is the Intersection?

The matter is simply that the Turks know well that every additional day that passes without a solution to the Syrian crisis, is an additional day in solidifying a relationship between them and nearly 7 million Syrians (they are the refugees in Turkey in addition to those whose land Turkey occupies directly through its three military operations, or significantly influence it, as in Idlib).

Every additional day is a strategic investment in the future Syria, it is more Syrian children and youth speaking Turkish, who are brought up to think of Turkey as the “mother country”. The longer the period of non-resolution, the greater the volume of this investment.

To be more precise, someone may rightly say: But Turkey is also suffering from being depleted due to the continuing crisis in Syria, whether with regard to refugees, military expenses, or even internal political costs; so, what is the logic in having an interest in prolonging the crisis?

The question is right, and the answer to it is simply as follows: As long as there is no solution, it is unreasonable to expect the Turkish authorities (within the dominant mindset of hegemony and expansion) not to seek long-term investment in the current situation.

The Regime’s Extremists Support Turkification!

The plans to perpetuate the de facto division and the division among Syrians, not only geographically, but also humanly, receive extensive support from the side opposite of the opposition extremists, that is from the regime’s extremists.

This support takes many forms, but certainly mainly: obstruction of the political process, obstruction of the political solution, obstruction of the implementation of Resolution 2254, which is the only way to restore the unity of Syria and Syrians.

Moreover, the political slogans and narrow and short-sighted political rhetoric that the regime’s extremists repeat by classifying Syrians as millions here and millions there, between “good” and “bad,” “patriots” and “traitors”, help those who are working on Turkification to making the Chinese walls higher between Syrians under their control and Syrians under the control of the regime or the control of the Autonomous Administration. Of course, it is not a coincidence that the opposition extremists use the same logic and rhetoric towards the “other” Syrian.

The extremists are still playing the tune of “loyalist” and “opponent”, and developing it towards “patriot” and “traitor”, or “rebel” and “coward”, etc. All of these are illusory and worthless categories, and represent only a superficial layer of very complex and profound phenomena, in the essence of which is the actual sorting of Syrians between the plundered who constitute the vast majority and the plunderers from all sides, which are a small minority.

Astana and a Military Solution

Some extremists within the regime are trying to evade their responsibility for the current situation by blaming the Astana process and the Russians in particular, by saying that they are the ones who contributed to reaching stability of the status quo as it is. (It is interesting that those avoid holding the US responsible for Idlib or the three areas that were occupied by Turkey in coordination with the US in particular, which was openly refused by the Russians).

In any case, Astana has accomplished a reduction to a minimum in the level of violence and the level of Syrian bloodshed, and it has reached a peak in performing its task, which it is now required to pass. However, what is amusing in the extremists’ proposals is that they portray the matter as if the Russians are blocking them from the Turks, and perhaps not for that, these extremists would have reached Istanbul militarily; or they ask the Russians to expel the Turks by force from the areas they occupy, that is, they want two countries the size of Russia and Turkey to engage in a war to defend parts of Syria.

The responsibility that cannot be evaded is that the only clear solution is to fully implement Resolution 2254 by making mutual concessions, all of which are exclusively in the interest of the Syrian people; not in the interest of the Americans, the Turks, the Russians, the Iranians, or anyone else. Concessions that are in the interest of the plundered, the plundering of whom is still getting deeper and more intense day after day.

The responsibility that the extremists within the regime and the opposition bear for the fact that Syrians live within spaces that vary culturally, economically, and politically, is a responsibility that cannot be evaded, and it cannot be addressed by verbal slogans against Turkification, and against division in general, while in parallel there are actual practices that serve the interest of Turkification and division.

(Arabic version)