Prof Haluk Gerger talks about Turkey-Syria relations


Turkey considered the developments in Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian Kurds as an “internal issue”, says professor Gerger
Middle East specialist Professor Haluk Gerger pointed out that Turkey considered the developments in Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian Kurds as an “internal issue”. Gerger offered his evaluations on the recent developments in Syria, Turkey’s policy on Syria and Kurds, the situation in the Middle East and the Annan Plan.

Gerger firstly noted that the rebel in Syria differs from other Arab rebels for three separate reasons and explained these points as follows; “The first reason is the fact that the external intervention in Syria played a role in revealing the public opposition from the very beginning, contrary to what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. The second reason is the presence of significant public support for the regime of Assad who is at least not in a desperate situation like seen in Egypt and Tunisia. The other reason is the external support Syria gets from Russia and China. From this point of view, Syria differs from other countries.”
Gerger remarked that the external intervention in Syria at first glance strengthened the internal opposition while at the same time leaving the Syrian government in a difficult situation, and added; “However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the imperialists don’t provide assistance because they are the friends of those peoples. On the contrary, they are trying to change the psychology, structure and legitimacy ground of the internal opposition. By highlighting the circles that agree to serve collaborative imperialism, they reverse the internal balance of rebels and the psychological effect created by the rebel. The intervention by the imperialists doesn’t consist of love for people.”

Turkey’s real problem is with Kurds, not Syria, underlined Gerger and said the followings; “The Kurdish problem in Turkey shouldn’t refer to North Kurdistan alone. This is a problem which takes its source from the organic social and historical entirety of the Kurdish people who were forced to live separated from each other. All Kurds constitute a matter for the Turkish state. The Kurds in Syria, Iran and South Kurdistan are therefore considered to be an “internal issue” from the point of Turkey which wants be an intervening party for it targets all Kurds and sees the Kurdish formation in Syria like the Kurdish question within its own boundaries.”

Pointing out that Turkey wants to be in the forefront in a probable intervention in Syria to be able to intervene in the developments and display a political and military presence there, Gerger said that; “Turkey wasn’t able to step into the developments and prevent the Kurdish formation in Iraq because it didn’t take part in the occupation there. Now, it wants to avoid making the same mistake in Syria and to be at the forefront of the intervention in Syria so that it could open a military and political area there. It aims thusly to acquire the right to decide on the formation of the Kurdish dynamics in Syria.”

Gerger remarked that Turkey’s participation in a probable intervention in Syria as a Muslim factor would have the aim to ensure a rightful ground for occupation, and explained two steps Turkey would want to take when it realizes the intervention in Syria; “The first step Turkey will want to take is so to say to disarray the public ground of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) which has a remarkable power in Syria. And the next step it will want to take is to have the right to speak on how the Kurdish factor will appear in new Syria, how it shall be restricted and on what kind of a regularization the rights of the Kurdish people shall be subject to.”

Should there be no international intervention in Syria, Turkey will want to form a buffer area on Syria border by finding provocative pretexts such as humanitarian reasons, noted Gerger and underlined that Turkey wanted to obtain this buffer area in order to maintain its military and political presence in Syria in a territory of its own. “In the area over which Turkey wants to seize control by means of occupation and buffer area, it will go beyond controlling the internal Kurdish dynamics in Syria. Turkey at the same time already has a strategy to get opportunities for laying siege to South Kurdistan and Iranian Kurdistan to some extent and to intervene them from this buffer area”, underlined Gerger.

Evaluating the Syrian National Council’s discriminatory approach towards Kurds, Gerger said that; “The dominating peoples who have been under the effect of chauvinism and militarism also constitute a part of the pressure imposed on Kurds. Because of the fact that even the left-wingers and democrats cannot clear themselves of nationalist and chauvinistic feelings, the anti-Kurd attitude is still maintained by these circles that are relatively democratic and rebel against the cruel and repressive regimes.” Gerger pointed out that these circles will not achieve a success without breaking the chauvinistic and militarist point of view against Kurds, and explained the reason as follows; “Because they are losing a substantial ally, their power is lessening and their own projects are being damaged. They in this way realize a project consisting of pressure, because of the fact that they cannot produce a project of democratic order. The nationalist blindness and narrowness unfortunately prevents them who stain their own movement and struggle for freedom.”

A n attack on Syria would be a strategical phase of a preliminary attack targeting Iran which is an effective power in the Middle East, underlined researcher and writer Gerger and continued as follows; “Iran has a particular position in the Middle East. It is not a power standing alone in its own castle; it has got a security hinterland which extends from Hamas to Hezbollah and from Islamic powers to Syria which constitutes one of the major links of this security gate. The fall of Syria means leaving Iran alone, disarraying the security hinterland and leaving open the possibility of a new attack. However, we already know the effective power Iran is the basic target of imperialism and Zionism.”

Also evaluating the Kofi Annan’s plan for Syria which was put into effect on April with an aim to end the conflicts in Syria, professor Gerger remarked that this plan didn’t have any acceptability and a support ground in respect of the solution of problems in Syria. Noting that Russia, China and Syria used the Annan Plan to gain time, Gerger said the followings; “From the point of America, Turkey and other countries, the Annan Plan is a means that should be sabotaged in a short time. As a matter of fact, they are already sabotaging it because they want the current situation to turn into a civil war or an occupation. To them, the Annan Plan is the means of producing legitimacy for saying ‘this is all Syria’s fault as we have done all we could and exhibited our good intention’. In the event of non-execution of the Annan Plan, the U.S. and the countries in acting in common with it will create a new opportunity of pressure against China and Russia that have been providing support for Syria.”

Noting that boundaries are being drawn again and collapse is being experienced one way or another by the unfair and colonialist status quo that has also separated Kurds and left them stateless, Gerger added; “The Kurdish people will get the best of this predicament through their historical rightfulness, their organization, determination for struggle and consciousness in all parts. They are right because they are organized and they are determined because they harm nobody. They demand their rights and the brotherhood of peoples. Kurds and their companions will get the best of this new disorder.”


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