Shortly after President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to pull out U.S. troops from Syria, a move that exorbitantly pleased Turkey, Russia and Iran, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a charm offensive, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times, entitled, “Trump Is Right on Syria. Turkey Can Get the Job Done.”
Turkey, Erdoğan claims, is the only country with the power and commitment to perform that task of protecting the interests of the United States, the international community and the Syrian people.
This claim is grossly wrong. Despite some convergences, Turkey’s interests in the Syrian theater are widely different than those of the Western bloc of countries. Turkey’s ambitions over the future of Syria are largely sectarian (pro-Sunni) and, therefore, a good recipe for further violence in civil war-torn Syria and the potential slaughter of the Kurds, a job Turkey can get done.
It is true, as Erdoğan reminded the world, that in 2016 Turkey became the first country to deploy ground combat troops to fight the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria: “Our military incursion severed the group’s access to NATO’s borders and impeded their ability to carry out terror attacks in Turkey and Europe.”