'If Erdogan goes to war, he will have to pay a huge price'
HDP’s Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission, Hişyar Özsoy, said that “if Erdogan wages a war that may disturb the existing balance of power, he will have to pay a huge military and political price.”
The Chair of the ruling AKP and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi today (Aug. 5). Before the elections scheduled for next year in Turkey, the AKP government has repeatedly announced a military operation against North and East Syria. The AKP government is seeking permission for an operation amid the Russia-Ukraine war and the NATO membership process of Finland and Sweden. In the meantime, 9 Arab citizens have recently lost their lives in the Zakho district of Iraq as a result of Turkish artillery fire, which also increased reactions to Turkey.
The Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Hisyar Özsoy, spoke to Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) about the developments in Iraq and Turkey’s diplomatic contacts for a new attack on North and East Syria.
Özsoy recalled that Turkey’s attacks on Iraqi soil were not new and that more than 130 Kurdish civilians have lost their lives in such attacks since 2015. “Unfortunately, the general public of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the international public turn a blind eye when Kurds are killed. Following the public backlash from the Arab countries concerning the Zakho attack, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and the Kurdistan Regional Government finally took a stance. No one would speak out when so many Kurds were killed in Turkish attacks before. Some demanded that Turkish military forces withdraw from Iraq. A request was submitted to the UN, but nothing has changed in practice. Turkey's bases and troops are still there, and bombings and attacks continue,” he said.
Özsoy noted that Turkey had to replace its offensive position with a defensive position after the Zakho massacre.
'TURKEY BENEFITS FROM THE POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN IRAQ'
Özsoy asserted that the continuation of political instability in Iraq would strengthen the AKP ruling in the region. “In the long run, if the internal turmoil, the lack of government, the conflict and the chaotic environment in Iraq continue, Turkey will consolidate its forces there. Because Turkey is a NATO member. Europe is worried about instability and conflicts in Syria and Iraq and fears the flock of refugees and jihadist organizations to European countries. Therefore, if tensions escalate and civil wars break out in Iraq and Syria, the West may give Turkey a greater role. After all, Turkey is NATO's spearhead in the Middle East.”
'TURKEY MAY FACE MILITARY DEFEAT'
Özsoy underlined that Erdogan needed a victory in Syria, albeit a fake one, to get the upper hand in domestic politics before the elections, adding that the prepared plans were, however, not approved by Europe, the USA, Russia and Iran. The HDP politician noted that the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who visited Turkey last week, officially stated that Germany found a possible Turkish operation in North and East Syria wrong. “The Germans are doing this for the first time. The Swedish Foreign Minister also disapproved it during a previous visit. Europe and America find it wrong. Erdogan is trying to get Russia's consent, but Iran took a very clear position in the Astana talks. However, a Turkey that fails to convince the international community and the United States and Russia might still carry out an operation,” he said.
Özsoy remarked that a possible operation against Syria would be risky, especially at a time when anti-Turkey sentiment is on the rise among the Arab countries. “The focus is on Til Rıfat and Manbij. Til Rifat is a point that connects roads to the north and 20 kilometres from Aleppo. Iranian militias, the Syrian army, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are located there. A conflict and war may lead to the involvement of the Syrian and Iranian armies as a whole. Turkey may experience a great military defeat instead of a victory that it is dreaming of. Currently, Turkey is seeking ways but Iran has made it very clear that it does not approve of this. A war there will not only involve the Kurds and the Turkish army and its mercenaries. It will be a much larger regional war. A new invasion of Rojava is on the agenda of the Turkish government before the elections, and they will do it whenever they find the opportunity.”
'ERDOĞAN ONLY SEEKS MORE POWER'
Özsoy also spoke about Turkey's veto on Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO bids in order to get permission for a military operation against Syria. “A memorandum was signed between Sweden, Finland and Turkey. Parliaments of all member states are supposed to approve the memberships of Sweden and Finland. While 29 NATO member countries say they will approve the bids, Çavuşoğlu and Erdoğan insist that "if our demands are not met, we will not pass it in the Turkish parliament", but will they have the parliamentary majority until then? This is yet another issue to discuss. Erdogan's agreement with Sweden and Finland is not about extraditing some names to Turkey. Erdogan is pursuing a bigger bargain with NATO. He is negotiating with the USA, England and France to stay in power. He wants a war in Syria because he thinks that it will keep him in power at home. Erdogan wants the west and NATO to keep him in power. The Swedish and Finnish authorities said that "our courts and international laws will decide the issue". Turkey will also ask for concessions to approve both countries’ NATO bids in the Turkish Parliament. It is important when it will come on the agenda of the parliament. Turkey can postpone it or even wait until after the elections.”
'TURKEY MAY PAY A HUGE PRICE'
Özsoy stated that NATO and the West invited Turkey to play an important role in the political, military and geopolitical balance of power, adding that Erdogan-Bahçeli's only agenda is Kurdish hostility. “Turkey is planning to push the Kurds back in two more towns against the policy of designing Europe, Scandinavia and the Black Sea. If Turkey takes a leap of faith and attacks Rojava, it will not be such an easy war. The Kurds are making preparations and there are many forces that want the status quo in Syria to be maintained under the current situation. They may also directly or indirectly be involved in a possible war. If Erdogan wages a war that may disturb the existing balance of power, he will have to pay a huge military and political price,” Özsoy concluded.