QAMISHLI – After Turkey shot down a Russian jet, Moscow increased their diplomatic and media support to the Syrian Kurds. However, now that Turkey has made concessions to Russia, trying to repair relations, Kurds say they do not think this would have many effects on the situation of northern Syria and Rojava.
The Turkish and Russian presidencies confirmed that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday apologized in a letter for downing a Russian jet in 2015, and took steps to improve Ankara’s relations with Moscow. Syrian Kurds have seen the step as a sign of weakness and despair by the Turkish government, after failing to prevent advances by the Kurds in Syria. Kurdish activists even posted cartoons on the social media showing Erdogan bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A former Turkish diplomat told ARA News that Turkey has its back against its wall, after corruption cases involving high-level Turkish government officials. “Erdogan might have felt the pressure of international cases brought against him and having to learn the rules of the game after 14 years in power,” the former official said. “And having everything being related to the “success” of Rojava and military more and more making its hand felt on the steering wheel.”
On Monday, a German group of politicians, activists and lawyers urged German authorities to investigate the Turkish president for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the southeast of Turkey.
Speaking to ARA News, former official in the Kobane administration Idris Nasan said: “Turkey has become increasingly isolated in its Syrian policy and its policy towards the Kurds. So shooting down Russian aircraft made it’s isolation deeper.”
“On the other hand, when Erdogan used the refugee problem to pressure Europe, he lost his last allies. That’s why he is obliged to change his politics to regain them again, as Kurds are being supported by his former friends and new enemies,” Nasan said.
“I believe Turkey seeks to have a footstep [new policy] within Syrian new map; otherwise, it would be out of the game. So, I think Turkey will try to turn Russia over Kurds, but this won’t happen because of Russia’s strong ties with the Syrian regime. So Turkey is going to join the new map and will have to accept federalism,” he told ARA News.
Russia was also a strong supporter of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to join the Geneva talks over Syria, while Turkey blocked any attempts to include the PYD in the peace negotiations.
“PYD has not joined Geneva talks yet, and this not just because of Turkish opposition. There are many reasons beside Turkish obstacles, the most important one is a lack of serious will by Russia and USA to let the Kurds join the peace talks. As soon as the both powerful countries agree on, no one can stop it,” Nasan added.
Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Tel Aviv-based Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told ARA News that the effect of the improvement of Russian-Turkish relations would be minimal on Kurds in Syria.
“The [Syrian] Kurds have established international relations free from Turkish intervention, thanks to the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] experience and the war against ISIS,” he said. “On future operations along the border, yes it might have some effect. But for what have already been established, no,” he said.
“It might include more Turkish involvement in decision-making processes if a Turkish-Russian rapprochement will be set up again. Similar to the US approach to Turkey as happened in Manbij,” Sagnic added.
Speaking to ARA News, Dr. Kamiran Haj Abdo, member of the Foreign Relations office of the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC), said Turkey’s position is weakening.
“Erdogan is trying to take a different position. He has lost a lot due to his wrong position in the Syrian war. He is trying to neutralize the role of Kurds, but I think he will not be successful,” he concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News
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