Erdogan’s Victory: What Does It Mean for Syrians?

The re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has had a mixed impact on Ankara’s Syria policy. On the one hand, it has allayed the concerns of many Syrians that Ankara’s policy towards Damascus could be fundamentally changed to their detriment. With Erdoğan remaining in power for another five years, Turkey is likely to maintain its military presence in parts of northern Syria. It is also likely that the vast majority of more than three million Syrian refugees in Turkey will remain there for the time being.

On the other hand, there are a number of influential figures in Erdoğan’s new government who see a range of national security concerns emanating from the south, making it difficult to take too many risks with a change in approach.

For the refugees and millions of displaced people in northern Syria, the current situation prevents or at least delays the chaos that could result from a change in Turkish policy. However, it also leaves them in a precarious situation, exposed to the vagaries of a war in which the parties are often pursuing irreconcilable goals and lack clear strategies for achieving them.

Erdoğan is entering his third term in office from a position of strength, but he also faces a number of major challenges. Turkey is facing an economic downturn, which is putting a strain on its generous approach to Syrian refugees. Ankara’s decision to drop its opposition to Sweden’s NATO membership will help to improve relations within the alliance, but tensions with the United States remain, particularly over Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made missile defense systems and Washington’s support for the YPG (Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units) in Syria.

As Turkey seeks to stabilize its Syria policy, both Syrians and Turkey will face a difficult road ahead. Turkey will need to work with Kurdish groups and the Syrian government to find a political solution that will allow millions of Syrian refugees to return home safely and rebuild Syria.

It is not yet clear whether Erdoğan’s Syria policy will be permanent. There are those in his new government who favor a more pragmatic approach to Syria, while Erdoğan himself remains committed to ousting the Assad regime. The tension between these two approaches could lead to further changes in Turkish Syria policy in the future.

It is important to note that Turkey’s Syria policy is largely driven by its own interests. Turkey wants to create a “safe zone” in northern Syria to stop the flow of refugees from Syria and prevent the strengthening of Kurdish groups. However, this could further destabilize Syria and anger Turkey’s regional allies, particularly the United States.

Turkey’s Syria policy is a complex and unpredictable issue. Its future will depend heavily on the decisions made by Erdoğan’s new government and Turkey’s relations with other actors in the region.





The image is taken from:

Bilge Büyükkasap

Bilge Büyükkasap

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