Increasing Cooperation Between Ankara and Washington on the Syrian Issue: How About Revisiting the Safe Zone Idea?

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Last week, just before President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the United States, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a visit to Ankara where the two sides discussed the ongoing efforts to defeat DAESH and to resolve the Syrian crisis through diplomacy. Turkey today is at the very center and a vital ally in the fight against DAESH, in the struggle to end Syria’s civil war as well as the global refugee crisis that makes Ankara a key partner for Western leaders. However, so many opportunities have already been missed that could stabilize the situation in Syria over the past five years.

 

Since Turkey’s warnings about the Syrian crisis were disregarded by Washington, so far the Syrian issue has continued to be one of the contentious issues between the two sides until now. The reason behind this situation has stemmed from the way American foreign policy has been conducted by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama – along the contours of the Obama Doctrine over the past five years. As a result, the Middle East’s regional problems have become more complex and intractable. Washington’s insistence on no boots on the ground and leading behind a strategy that relied on some state and non-state actors’ cooperation on the ground has so far failed to be successful in bringing a solution to the problems of the fractured states of both Iraq and Syria. Unfortunately, the net result of Obama’s strategy of non-strategy in the Middle East has worked at the expense of Turkey’s security interests – hence Ankara has left alone in assuming and overcoming most of the soft and hard security problems emanating from the on-going civil war in Syria. Thus, this situation has become the main source of a real problem that has badly hurt the two sides’ relations.

 

It was published on April 1, 2016 on thenewturkey.org website.
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