Jan 09 2019

Erdoğan faced with fallout from Trump's hasty Syria withdrawal decision - analysis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the latest figure to have fallen prey to the cement mixer operating in the White House as he is faced with the decision of attacking Kurds in Syria and risking face-off with U.S. troops, or waiting for their departure, wrote Zvi Bar’el in Israeli Haaretz newspaper.

The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump's hasty decision to withdraw 2000 troos from Syria, made during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Erdoğan last month, is falling apart, Bar’el said.

The happiness of the Turkish president in immediately taking up the role of substitute for the Americans in Syria, the article stressed, was short-lived as this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that Washington would only  pull out of Syria only after the Islamic State (ISIS) was completely uprooted, and the protection of the Kurdish forces in Syria was assured.

‘’We can assume that Bolton still likes his job, because if he had made such a statement without asking his boss, he would likely immediately be fired on Twitter. Bolton also said the U.S. does not think Turkey should undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by Washington – at the very least to avoid endangering American troops,’’ Bar’el wrote.

Erdogan’s recent article published in The New York Times expresses the agreements reached with Trump and could have only been written with the understanding that the U.S. president had agreed to his Turkish counterpart’s plan, Bar’el highlighted.

However, ‘’Trump made a mistake when he hastily declared that the Islamic State had been defeated. If not, why was there a need for Turkey to step in to finish the job?’’ the article asked.

Ankara, Bar’el underlined, must now make a decision as to what step to take in Syria taking into account the actions of other regional countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and Iran.

‘’Erdogan does not need a journalist’s report to know he is standing on a dangerous island with the traffic, heavy and hostile, Arab, Israeli and American, flowing wildly around him,’’ the article concluded.