It may be time for Turkey to revisit foreign policy, columnist says

It is evident that the time has come for Turkey to revisit its foreign policy, particularly in war-torn Syria, where key backer of Damascus Russia is determined to stand its ground, wrote Karar newspaper columnist Taha Akyol on Tuesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this month vowed to protect the people of Syria against what he called tyrants in the neighbouring country, going on to say that Turkish troops were willing to die for the cause, Akyol wrote.

“But the reality on the ground, that is to say the military balance, is very different, even worrisome,’’ Akyol said. 

A total of 16 Turkish troops have been killed by Russia-backed Syrian army shelling in Idlib this month as forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad continue their assault to reclaim Idlib, the last rebel-held province in the country.

Eight of Turkey’s 12 observation posts in Idlib remain in areas seized by Assad’s forces, he said, adding that Russia has no intention of backing down on its support of the Syrian regime.

“Would Putin backpedal on a foothold, which he has settled into at great cost since 2015?’’ Akyol asked, adding that Ankara must reconsider its estimation of Moscow as a strategic ally.

“It is with this understanding that we purchased the S-400,’’ Akyol wrote, “but now we are asking for diplomatic support and Patriots from the West, which up until yesterday we referred to as the ‘’Crusader alliance’’. 

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar earlier this month said the United States could deploy U.S.-made Patriot batteries on its southern border to provide protection after Ankara expressed its plans of striking Russian-backed Syrian forces by air in Idlib.

“Is it not time to place political biases aside and re-examine our foreign policy?’’ Akyol asked.