Turkey’s policy towards Syria: accuracy and mistakes

Turkish foreign policy towards Syria was based on a number of principles, the most important of them was the supporting of the Syrian opposition militant groups and having an opened door for Syrian refugees. Turkish government thought that the Assad regime would fall in a short period like what happened in Arab countries that had regime changes during the Arab Spring. The Syrian war has transformed into an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict with international interventions in a sectarian environment.

Turkey relied so much on USA and the international community to solve the crisis in Syria by any means were either it’s through political process or military action, also setting up a non-fly zone in the north of Syria was one of the Turkey’s plan to protect the Syrian civilians and at the same time to stop the creation of a Kurdish state in Syria supported by the PKK.

A policy that is not based on a principle of realistic strategy will eventually fail, this can be clearly seen in some of the Turkish foreign policy points followed to resolve the Syrian conflict, according to the Turkish interests and the interests of the region as a whole.



Humanitarian support: Turkey’s support towards the Syrian refugees will be indeed historic since Turkey has always opened its borders towards the Syrian refugees and providing them all necessary needs to live in Turkey. Also it always allows Humanitarian convoys to go through to Syria across the Turkish borders. There are more than 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Military support: Turkey has always the Syrian opposition militant groups militarily and logistically since the very beginning of the war, allowing weapons, aid and foreign fighters to pass through the Turkish borders into Syria [opposition held territories], Turkish military intelligence also trained Some FSA units and Turkman brigade fighters also it hosts many opposition military commanders like Colonel Riad al-Asaad.


Waited long for the West to topple the Assad regime: Turkey sees the Syrian conflict from a humanitarian perspective more than a military perspective, the Turkish government thought that USA and European countries that claims to be anti-Assad to intervene military to end Assad regime’s brutal oppression like they did previously in Libya when they intervened militarily against Gaddafi and his regime. Ankara realized lately that the West are not willing to intervene to topple Assad or to support the opposition militant groups with effective weapons to win the war, Turkey could have acted independently or with the supportive allies [Qatar and Saudi Arabia] of the Syrian opposition to solve the Syrian conflict without relying on the west but since the Russian intervention in Syria the situations are more complex now to make any strategic move to end the war.

Did not classify PYD as a terrorist organization: Turkey did not classify Democratic Union Party [PYD] and its armed wing People’s Protection Units [YPG/J] as a terrorist organization in the beginning of the war when they captured northern Syria by force. Despite PYD’s open connection with the PKK which is classified by Turkey and the West as a terrorist organization, Turkey did not take any action to stop their separatist plans by creating a Kurdish de-facto Independent state which will be a huge threat to the Turkish national security. Turkish President Erdogan has called on USA to treat PYD as a terrorist organization but they refused since they are battling against the Islamic State.




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