“I am going to tell you something. What is the formula? We found a city in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul late Friday.
The Turkish president said he had even discussed the idea with US President Barack Obama, which however “has not yet come to fruition.”
German’s Zeit Online is convinced that the suggestion is a “smokescreen” which conceals the Turkish president’s true intentions.
“Erdogan wisely said nothing about how he plans to build a city on a foreign territory, nor the deadline for its construction,” reads the article of Ludwig Greven.
“Neither did he mention who was going to control the territory,” adds the author.
Or maybe Turkey itself wants to be in control? However, this would be a clear violation of international law, he states. Or should the refugee settlement be subject to international protection, similar to the UN protected zones in Bosnia during the Bosnian war? However, the author adds, this would not be a particularly fitting example, referring to the Srebrenica safe area.
“No wonder that Washington holds back because Obama does not want to be drawn into yet another, though limited, adventure in the Middle East,” the journalist says.
Erdogan’s true motives, the author reasons, could be mere propaganda, a desire to demonstrate that his country is willing to do more to settle the refugee crisis, this time however on the territory of another state.
The idea also sounds as yet another attempt to push for a buffer zone on the territory of Syria along the border with Turkey, which Erdogan has been pushing through for a long time.
If such a city is built, the author reasons, the US-led coalition would no longer oppose the no-fly zone, which in turn, would provide an air cover for its “moderate rebels” fighting against President Assad.
“That is Erdogan’s biggest fear that after Northern Iraq, an autonomous Kurdish area appears in Syria which prompts the Turkish Kurds to demand the same for themselves,” the author suggests.
Anyway, the journalist states, pushing the Syrian refugees back into their territory when there is a danger to their lives, is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention which only illustrates Turkey’s real attitude towards human rights and human lives.