Turkey's military operation against the Kurds in Syria continues, and, moreover, Erdogan promises to expand it. The Kurds are already accusing Russia of betrayal, and Moscow clearly does not want to interfere. Why does not Russia try to stop the actions of the Turkish army and what are our interests in this story?
The President of Turkey spoke on the phone first with Vladimir Putin, and then with Donald Trump - Erdogan explains the purpose of the Turkish military operation in the Kurdish territories in Syria. And the operation that began with Afrina, according to Erdogan, will not be limited to this one area and will be expanded:
"Having started the operation" Olive branch ", we stopped the games of different forces who want to implement their plans in our region. Starting from Manbije, throughout our entire border (with Syria) we will completely clear the region of terrorists, we will ensure our security. "
Erdogan has in mind the territories inhabited and controlled by the Kurds, which Ankara considers related to the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey. The Turks call them terrorists and fear that by creating their quasi-state, Syrian Kurds will strengthen the support of those of their Turkish counterparts who are ready to fight for the independence of Turkish Kurdistan.
That is, for Turkey, the Kurdish question is a matter of the life and death of their state.
They have millions of Kurds, and it is impossible to separate the territories they inhabited from Turkey without destroying the republic itself. That is why Ankara wants to stave off the Syrian Kurds, who have imagined too much about themselves over seven years of Syrian internecine strife. Turkey will not allow the appearance on its borders of autonomy, formally part of Syria, but in fact independent. It is also a base for American games in the region.
It is the statements of the Americans about the possibility of creating the 30-thousandth army of the Syrian Kurds and became the last straw that provoked the Turkish military operation in Africa. At the same time, in Africa there were Russian representatives, and not American ones, and Moscow had to withdraw from there, so as not to jeopardize the lives of our military police and medical personnel. Which, of course, immediately caused a lot of comments in the style of "Russia betrayed the Kurds."
Of course, there was no surrender of Kurds. Kurds tried to play both with Russia and with the United States in the expectation that they will be able to get their own self-government, and even the state. At the same time, part of the Kurdish forces went on increasingly cooperating with Washington - which, it seems, promised them something that does not depend on it. Yes, the Kurds can not provide any autonomy to the US, because everything depends on Syria, Turkey and Iran on the spot. And Russia, which acts as both the patron of Damascus, and as a moderator of relations in the triangle of Syria - Turkey - Iran.
Moscow offered the Kurds the maximum they could really get - autonomy within Syria. For this Moscow was ready to work primarily in front of Damascus, and even before Ankara. But the Kurds preferred a Russian bird in the hands of an American crane in the sky - and ran into the expected Turkish answer. Moscow did not stop the Turks, not only because it can not physically do it. First of all, because their operation will lead to beneficial results for us.
First, it eliminates the last illusions around the possibility of creating an American Syrian Kurdistan. Secretary of State Tillerson has already proposed to form an 30-kilometer "security zone", saying that the US does not want to face Turkey in the north of Syria. That is, although the US does not leave this part of Syria, in fact, they will have to give up plans to create a large and allied Kurdish army there. One more step is being taken to extrude the US from Syria.
Secondly, the Turkish operation is pushing the Syrian Kurds to negotiate with Damascus. The very fact of the constant "Turkish threat" will force them to search for their place in Syria. Because Damascus and Moscow can give security guarantees from the Turks, and independent existence will not protect against the constant "antiterrorist operations" of Ankara. The process of reconstructing a single Syria is simplified.
Thirdly, the fact that Ankara agreed in advance with the operation with Moscow, further strengthens the Russian-Turkish interaction. Considering how much benefit the coordinated policy can have for both countries, the rates are very high here.
Of course, all this will happen only if the "Olive Branch" does not grow into a full-fledged and protracted Turkish-Kurdish war. But now it seems that Ankara's plans do not include the delaying of the operation, nor its escalation. For Russia, the following points are of principle importance:
1. Syria should be restored as a single state without any foreign military presence.
2. Mutual understanding and trust in relations with Turkey must be strengthened following the results not only of the Syrian war, but also of the Syrian settlement. Turkey should not have any concern about the threat to its security from the revived Syria.
3. Relations within the trilateral alliance Turkey-Russia-Iran should become both a guarantee of peace in Syria and help strengthen Russia's positions in the region as a whole.
4. Turkey should strengthen its independence from the US, and ideally begin to move towards secession from NATO's military organization.
5. Kurds in Syria should get a certain autonomy - with guarantees of their self-government, but without the possibility to split a single state.
The move towards the implementation of all these points will help strengthen Russia's position in the Middle East.
This will bring our relations with individual countries of the region to a new level and make our country a convenient moderator for all in resolving the main regional disputes and conflicts.
That is an indispensable player - which will be an important contribution to the increase of Russia's overall geopolitical weight in a new, multipolar world.