Pro-Erdogan Media Celebrate Syria Invasion: ‘International System Has Collapsed’

TOPSHOT - Turkish soldiers patrol the northern Syrian Kurdish town of Tal Abyad, on the border between Syria and Turkey, on October 23, 2019. - Moscow's forces in Syria headed for the border with Turkey today to ensure Kurdish fighters are pulling back after a Turkish-Russian deal wrested control of …
BAKR ALKASEM/AFP via Getty

The editor-in-chief of a major Islamist newspaper in Turkey declared in celebration that the Russia- and U.S.-brokered ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish fighters in Syria was a sign “the international system has collapsed” in a column Thursday.

Ibrahim Karagül, the editor-in-chief and prolific columnist of the Ottoman imperialist newspaper Yeni Safak, proclaimed that Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had “stunned” and defeated America, the European Union, Israel, and Saudi Arabia by accepting an agreement in which Russia would send troops into Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) to protect the Kurdish residents there in exchange for Turkey ending its assault on Kurdish territory.

Turkey invaded Rojava this month as part of “Operation Peace Spring,” a plan to eradicate the indigenous Kurdish presence in the region and replace it with mostly Arab Syrian refugees. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella militia mostly comprised of Kurdish fighters, accused Turkey of attempted “ethnic cleansing” against the Kurdish population.

Turkey coordinated the attack with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a coalition of mostly Arab fighters, including jihadist elements, organized and supported by former President Barack Obama. The SDF has accused the FSA of war crimes; Kurdish news outlets have published videos of FSA jihadists desecrating Kurdish corpses while shouting “Allahu akbar,” a jihadist battle cry.

Karagül – whose newspaper parrots talking points from the Erdogan administration and who personally attended Erdogan’s inauguration – regularly writes articles claiming that Saudi Arabia and Israel both operate as puppets for the United States and that a coalition including those three nations, the entirety of the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates are executing a conspiracy to keep the Turkish state weak. In his column Thursday, Karagül suggested that the SDF and Kurdish forces generally are part of the Israeli-Saudi-European-American conspiracy against Turkey, so a ceasefire that results in the SDF withdrawing from the Syrian-Turkish border hurts all countries involved and precedes the rise of a new Ottoman empire.

Karagül’s column is titled “Three great interventions in three weeks… The Israeli, EU, and Arab regimes are stunned. The terror zone and their map project are history now! Erdoğan, Putin, Trump… These three leaders are changing the world… The world is watching Turkey’s comeback. This is Turkey’s ascent!”

“The U.S. and European countries can no longer treat Turkey like a regional country. They cannot make plans without Turkey or ignore Turkey’s power,” Karagül wrote. “In this sense, in global politics, Ankara now has greater weight than the entirety of EU countries.”

The invasion and ceasefire prove Turkey is “a third big power beside two big states such as the U.S. and Russia,” he claimed.

“Turkey got the U.S. to withdraw from the safe zone,” Karagül added, without providing the context that President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to withdraw American troops from the Middle East. “No other force could ever get it to do so. But it had no choice other than to retreat. With the U.S. no longer there, the PKK, EU countries, as well as Israel, will all have to withdraw.”

The Erdogan government contends that the SDF and its Kurdish forces are indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated Marxist terrorist group. The SDF are a U.S. ally and played a key role in the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, which in turn was emboldened by Erdogan’s refusal to police the border between the two countries, allowing foreign Islamic State sympathizers to invade Syria.

Karagül then decrees that the biggest loser of the ceasefire is Israel.

“Israel in particular was disappointed in Syria. All its efforts since the very beginning of the war have gone down the drain. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which provided funds to the policies designed by Israel, lost in Syria. They are going to continue to lose,” he wrote.

Karagül accuses Israel of most geopolitical developments he disapproves of. Karagül claimed that Israel killed former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who died in prison in Cairo and has called the crown prince of UAE a member of Israeli intelligence. He has further referred to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as “hitmen of the Crusaders [America, although the United States did not exist during the Crusades]” and predicted a world war if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman remains in power.

Karagül concluded that Erdogan’s “powerful leadership and determination” has “put Turkey in the giants’ league” through brute force and that Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Trump “are changing the world.”

Karagül was on hand for talks between Erdogan and Putin Tuesday that resulted in the current ceasefire.

Putin and Erdogan announced a deal that would end active hostilities so long as the SDF withdrew from Kurdish territory. The Kremlin warned Kurdish forces that they would be “run over by the Turkish military machine” if they did not give up the areas they controlled to Russian soldiers. Russia has secured key Kurdish cities like Manbij and Kobani – where Kurdish forces fought a months-long battle to keep ISIS out – in exchange for Turkey promising not to attack.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also took the opportunity to insult the United States, as the Kremlin often does regardless of the topic at hand: “The United States has been the Kurds’ closest ally in recent years. In the end, it abandoned the Kurds and, in essence, betrayed them. Now they prefer to leave the Kurds at the border and almost force them to fight the Turks.”

The agreement does not specifically address the issue of the 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, which Erdogan used as a pretext for “Operation Peace Spring.” The objective of the operation, he claimed, was to resettle as many of these refugees as possible in a “safe zone” made up of Kurdish territory.

It also does not specify if the Free Syrian Army will stop its assault on the Kurds. Syrian Kurdish leaders have objected to jihadist FSA fighters targeting Kurdish civilians and terrorizing communities, calling the force “the new ISIS.”

General Mazloum Abdi, the general commander of the SDF, accused the Turkish military of violating the ceasefire in a newly established Twitter account on Thursday.

“In spite of the Turks’ announcement of the end of military operations, they and their jihadists, the so-called National Army, continue to violate and launch attacks on the eastern front of the Srikane region (Ras al-Ain),” Abdi wrote. “The guarantors of the ceasefire must carry out their responsibilities to rein in the Turks and stop their operations.”

Turkish state media has confirmed the continued presence of troops in the region, but claimed they are handing out free bread to civilians.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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