Turkey at the Putin-Assad summit | Mehmet Yuva

Turkey at the Putin-Assad summit | Mehmet Yuva
Turkey at the Putin-Assad summit | Mehmet Yuva

Upon the invitation of Putin and the necessity (need), the Defense Ministers of Turkey and Syria and the Heads of Intelligence met in Moscow on December 22, 2022, before the 6 February earthquake. Then, the expectation was that the Foreign Ministers of the two countries met in mid-February and that after the leaders’ summit, the political relations of the two countries would enter into a normalization process. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Finance of the two countries attended the Putin-Assad summit. Part of the story was focused on strategic issues, which are the priorities of Damascus and Moscow, and the roadmap to be followed by the two leaders in tactics. The joint work program on the reconstruction of Syria, connected to foreign policy, defense and finance, has been updated. We have read a lot of comments about the speeches that took place in front of the media and in closed sessions. Newspapers preferred headlines in line with their ideological character. Some, as if for the first time, put forward “severe conditions” for Assad to meet with Erdogan, that these talks would not happen if the Turkish Armed Forces did not withdraw from Syria, that Assad would harm the opposition and that Erdogan’s normalization relations with Damascus were an election investment. They claimed they didn’t want him to take advantage of it.


If this assessment were correct, the Turkish Armed Forces would have insisted on withdrawing from Syrian territory first, as a precondition for the meeting of the Intelligence Chiefs and Defense Ministers of the two countries. In addition, Russia, China and Iran have serious doubts, questions and concerns about the main opposition formed by the Six Tables against Erdogan. The reason for this is the main opposition’s rhetoric and actions in favor of NATO, the USA and the West against Russia, China and Iran. While the Putin-Assad summit was going on, CHP Chairman’s Foreign Policy Advisor Ünal Çeviköz made statements in favor of NATO and the US and said, “We will remind Russia that we are a NATO member.” It should be underlined that his openly threatening Russia with his statement was also noted by Moscow, its allies and Assad.

In addition, the possibility of Davutoğlu being a component of the Six Table and even taking the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again is a nightmare for Damascus. A retired Syrian diplomat said, “We don’t have to make any concessions against Damascus, because they are in need of us. Let’s turn the ball until the elections, neither skewers nor kebabs” was applied, this thought was effective for a long time, Damascus was more willing to make peace compared to Ankara, but the conditions changed rapidly in favor of Damascus, and Assad’s stance against Erdogan. He said his hand is getting stronger.

‘There is a difference between the PREVIOUS Assad and the current Assad’

Upon Ankara’s request, the decision of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to normalize their relations with Syria, which once again established good relations, came after the collapse of the Brotherhood governments in Egypt and Tunisia, which were previously ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood parties supported by Erdogan. The establishment of strong relations between these two countries with Damascus, the fact that China brought Saudi Arabia and Iran together at the friendly table, and the speech embargo imposed by Qatar on the Syrian opposition should be considered as a very important support for both Assad’s legitimacy and his political future. In the words of one Russian diplomat, “There is a huge difference between the Assad we saw before and the current Assad. Assad, who listened more and asked questions at previous summits, is now in the position to explain and advise Putin on what should be done and how.” Meeting with Putin with this self-confidence, Assad’s urgent agreement with Turkey in minimum commons without forcing the conditions further will be for the benefit of both countries.

Damascus is the Erdogan government’s military presence in Syria; To make concessions from the USA and Russia, to support HDP’s own line with the stick-carrot logic of its military operations and political pressures, to support the Arabs and Syrian Turkmen who are suitable for this structure, who are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood Organization (Ikhwan Movement) and who are equipped with the radical Sunni ideology. He believes that he wishes to establish a structure that includes all of the above, to ensure that Ankara has military and civil administrations, to maintain their existence and to have a say in the future of Syria through these. He claims to have concrete data to support this belief.


For this reason, Ankara specifically requests official explanations on at least two issues from Turkey in order to ensure the sincerity of the statements of “We are in favor of the territorial integrity of Syria” and to ensure healthy bilateral relations; Guaranteed by Russia, Iran, China and the Arab League, Erdogan wants a calendar program in which the Turkish Armed Forces will withdraw from Syria in a time and place period to be coordinated with Damascus. Damascus wants Ankara to cooperate fully with Damascus against the religious structures that Damascus regards as terrorist organizations as much as Ankara demands from Syria against the PKK.

He underlines that when this demand is met, the Erdogan-Assad summit will be possible “because it is in line with Syria’s national interests”. Until this happens, no annotation will be put on the meeting of the lower level and even two foreign ministers. We can say that with the summit of the two leaders, whether and when the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria will take place, and if so, when it will become clear after the conversation between Putin and Erdogan.

The article is in Turkish

Tags: Turkey PutinAssad summit Mehmet Yuva

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