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    A Turkish soldier gestures while standing on the hill overlooking damaged buildings following heavy fighting between government troops and Kurdish fighters in the Kurdish town of Cizre in southeastern Turkey, which lies near the border with Syria and Iraq, on March 2, 2016

    Why Turkey's Middle Eastern Policy Turned Into 'Complete Disaster' for Ankara

    © AFP 2018 / YASIN AKGUL
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    Ankara's interference in domestic affairs of the countries of the Middle East has only exacerbated tensions in the region, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), told Sputnik. According to Kilicdaroglu, Ankara's foreign strategy has translated into broad losses for the country.

    By meddling in the affairs of the countries of the Middle Eastern region Turkey has shot itself in the foot, says Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP), the main Turkish opposition party.

    In an exclusive interview with Sputnik Turkey, Kilicdaroglu said that Turkey's Middle Eastern policy has turned out to be a complete disaster for Ankara.

    "It was absolutely inappropriate to send weapons to Syria for al-Nusra Front, to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, and to indulge the bloodshed," Kilicdaroglu told Sputnik. "I have always said this and continue to reiterate this. What problems do we have in relations with Syria? Why do we interfere in its internal affairs? What reason are we doing this for? What national interests does Turkey have here [in Syria]? Turkey's Middle Eastern policy has translated into tremendous losses for [Ankara]."

    The CHP leader drew attention to deplorable conditions of Turkmen civilians 200 of which has been recently slaughtered by Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). 

    It was reported Friday that Daesh terrorists executed scores of men, women and children who sought to flee the area controlled by the extremist group.

    "Over 200 Turkmen trying to flee Daesh were murdered in Tal Afar. Those people were seized by terrorists about 10 days ago as they were attempting to escape Tal Afar. They were held at a Daesh prison, and yesterday they were all murdered. There were women, children and elderly people among the victims," Aydin Maruf, a representative of the Turkmen Front in Erbil and member of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament, told Sputnik Turkey.

    According to Kilicdaroglu, Turkmen have fallen prey to the power game in the Middle Eastern region.

    "They played the role of a bridge between Turkey and Syria. The relationship could develop in a very good way, but, unfortunately, we [Turkey] undermined this opportunity through our actions [in the region]," the CHP leader said.

    Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces, one carrying a Turkish flag, patrol in Dabiq, Syria (File)
    © AP Photo / Qasioun News Agency
    Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces, one carrying a Turkish flag, patrol in Dabiq, Syria (File)

    However, the Syrian conflict is not the only crisis Ankara has had a hand in, according to Kilicdaroglu.

    Referring to the Qatari diplomatic crisis the Turkish politician criticized Ankara for not assuming the role of mediator in the confrontation between the Persian Gulf realms and Doha, but openly taking Qatar's side.

    "When Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and seven other Arab countries opposed Qatar, sent a note to it and demanded that it met a number of demands, Turkey took the side of Qatar, and in promptly passed an agreement to send its military there through the parliament. We immediately recognized this as an incorrect step, because it made Turkey a direct participant in the conflict, which the Arab countries must resolve themselves," Kilicdaroglu emphasized.

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inspect a military honour guard during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015
    © AP Photo / Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service
    According to the politician, Ankara has only added fuel to the fire by "going up against the entire Arab world."

    Kilicdaroglu also expressed concerns about Turkey beefing up its military presence in Qatar.

    "I am concerned that all expenses related to this process are covered by the Qatari government," the politician told Sputnik, "Is Turkey incapable of taking care of its own food and military uniforms independently? It turns out that we have sent 'legionnaires' there, because it resembles nothing but the lease of military force. We [CHP] are very concerned about this state of affairs."

    The opposition party leader noted that simultaneously in Turkey itself the situation is growing increasingly tense.

    He recalled that five days after the attempted coup of July 15, 2016 the Turkish government implemented a state of emergency and kicked off a massive campaign against opposition-minded scholars, journalists and parliamentarians.

    "We call this a 'civil coup on July 20'. This happened for the first time in the history of the Republic of Turkey," he highlighted.

    "Previously the judicial system was placed under the control of FETÖ (organization of Fethullah Gülen, designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey), and now — the [ruling] AKP [Justice and Development Party]. The judicial system has become a stick in the hands of the authorities. Fear dominates everywhere," Kilicdaroglu said.

    The opposition leader called the arrest of CHP Deputy Enis Berberoglu —  a former journalist and the ex-editor in chief of daily newspaper Hürriyet, who was sentenced to 25 years for "leaking state secrets" — the last straw.

    Berberoglu's imprisonment prompted Kilicdaroglu to kick off a 425 km (265 miles) protest march, aimed against what the politician calls a one-party state system.

    "This action is only the beginning, it will be continued. Any of our actions should find a response in society. What will be the situation inside the parliament and beyond? Time will tell. We, for our part, will do everything in order to justify the demands and expectations of the people," Kilicdaroglu stressed.

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    Tags:
    Syrian Turkmen, foreign policy, protests, Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP), NATO, Daesh, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, United States, Russia, Qatar
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