16:54 GMT08 March 2021
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

    In an attempt to analyze who could lend the US a helping hand in its efforts to topple the legitimate president of Syria, The New York Times had to admit that one more of Damascus's neighbors had to be struck from the list: Turkey, it says, will “do its utmost to avoid any type of confrontation with the Russians.”

    The warnings of President Erdogan that Moscow could lose its friendship with Ankara, which came after Russia’s accidental violations of Turkey’s airspace during its air operations in Syria, might have signaled some tension between the countries.

    "Our positive relationship with Russia is known. But if Russia loses a friend like Turkey, with whom it has been cooperating on many issues, it will lose a lot, and it should know that," President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday during his visit to Brussels for talks with the European leaders over the migrant crisis.

    However, the US newspaper The New York Times has dispersed all hope.

    “Turkey, which from the outset of the war more than four years ago backed rebel groups in the belief that Mr. Assad could be quickly toppled, finds itself powerless to shape events in Syria,” it says.

    “What became increasingly clear after Russia began its bombing campaign is that Mr. Erdogan’s long-held ambition of persuading Western allies to establish a safe zone in northern Syria has crumbled.”

    “The Russian presence has changed the entire parameters in Syria, including a safe zone,” the newspaper quotes Mensur Akgun, director of a Turkey-based research organization, the Global Political Trends Center, as saying. “No one will dare confront Russia.”

    Because of history and its deep economic links to Russia, Turkey “will try its utmost to avoid any type of confrontation with the Russians,” he added.

    The newspaper compared the leadership style of president Erdogan with that of President Putin. It noted that both men have been “criticized for becoming increasingly authoritarian and cracking down on free expression, and both men have been their countries’ pre-eminent political figure from both the positions of president and prime minister”.

    However, Soner Cagaptay, an expert on Turkey at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, also admitted that “Turkey is unlikely to confront Moscow even when Russia undermines Turkey’s interests, such as in Syria where Russia is supporting the Assad regime, even as Ankara tries to depose it.”

    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)


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