With prospects of the Geneva talks on Syria still unclear, Ankara is set to be the “big loser” in the negotiations, the British newspaper The Independent reported.
The upcoming Geneva talks “may produce little of substance”, but Turkey is already seen as the “big loser”, according to Patrick Cockburn of the UK newspaper The Independent.
In his article, Cockburn specifically focused on the problems pertaining to ending wars in Syria and Iraq.
According to him, the main trouble is that “there is a multitude of players who are too strong to lose but too weak to win.”
For example, Iran and the Islamist movement Hezbollah believe that their very existence will depend on victory in these wars, he said, adding that as far as Saudi Arabia and Turkey are concerned, they “have invested too much credibility in the struggle for Syria to admit they are not going to achieve their aim of ousting President Bashar al-Assad.”
“The big loser here could be Turkey, which seemed to be in such a strong position to extend its influence across the Middle East in 2011,” Cockburn pointed out.
He explained that at first many Arab protesters seeking to topple dictatorial rule praised the image of an economically prospering, democratic yet Islamic state. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “soon made clear that he was supporting a Sunni Arab sectarian takeover that was anti-Shia, anti-Kurd and anti-secular and was bound to be resisted,” according to Cockburn.
He also pointed to Turkey backing the Muslim Brotherhood and then tolerating or helping Daesh, Al-Nusra Front and other extreme jihadi groups.
“For all President Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman dreams of making Turkey a great power in the Middle East again, he has achieved the opposite,” he said.
He added that Erdogan’s response to the failure will already be clear in the coming months amid efforts Russia and the US to close the border between northern Syria and Turkey. They will try to do so “in different ways, and in support of a rather different list of allies,” according to Cockburn.
“President Erdogan will either have to accept Turkey’s exclusion from northern Syria or increase Turkish military involvement, possibly including an invasion,” he said.
Cockburn quoted “critical commentators in Turkey” as saying that Erdogan planned to invade Syria, but top Turkish generals allegedly prevented him fulfilling his plans.
He concluded by predicting that “a Turkish move into northern Syria now would face American disapproval and resistance by Russian aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles.