MARKAR ESAYAN

What is happening and will happen in Syria

The Syrian crisis is seriously influencing Turkey and causing concern. This is not limited to the fact that Turkey shares its longest border with Syria or the latter's longstanding influence on the PKK. Syria, after Egypt, is one of the most crucial countries in the Middle East. It is a country that has experienced the consequences and repercussions of all major developments in the region. The ambitions of colonial powers, the power struggle in the region and the inhumane preferences associated with this struggle in the early 20th century can be better understood with reference to Syria: minority rule, a totalitarian structure, wealthy elites. poor people, etc.

The statement that there will be no peace without Egypt and no war without Syria in the Middle East describes the reality of the situation. The Palestinian issue has been bleeding from the heart of this region for many years. In fact, the Middle East, like Africa, is the bleeding wound of the world. We can see traces of the brutal preferences of the colonial past in these lands without going back very far in time. In other words, the West is responsible for what happened in these countries. If it takes responsibility in proving its civility, the West must return what it has stolen from these regions through honest, sincere policies. Any problem in this region will influence not only the people in the region but the people in the entire world.

The Arab Spring is the result of a strong reaction to the unsustainable pressures and brutality of totalitarian regimes. While many were looking for the involvement of the US or other great powers in this upheaval, what was really happening was a correction in the course of history. For the West, the Arab Spring was not conceivable or predictable in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen or Syria. This is best evidenced by the failure of the US to properly address what has been going on in these countries and to offer a comprehensive policy vis-à-vis the developments in the region.

Now, however, the process of change has started. This region will overthrow the archaic regimes set up by colonial powers and the boundaries they drew. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but this is the 1789 of the Middle East. Of course, it is unique and may take a long time and, sadly, it could be bloodier than the French Revolution.

Turkey has opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning. Iranian support for the Assad regime is immoral but is something we should have expected. And we strongly oppose Assad, who has killed 20,000 people. For this reason, we want the removal of the Assad regime, the establishment of a democratic regime in its place and the achievement of peace.

In fact, Assad is already gone. This is just an extension of the battle. The real matter is how much more blood will be spilled.

Neo-nationalist circles in Turkey, which extend a great deal of support to Assad, do not concern themselves with civilian deaths. They believe that a war of ideology is going on in Syria and, for this reason, they do not want the collapse of the Assad regime as they see it as part of their ideological front. Therefore, they remind those who oppose Assad what could happen after Assad is gone or of the murders committed by the opposition, as if those who urged Assad not to spill blood are responsible for this.

Of course, democracy will not arrive in this region overnight. The domination of the military council in Egypt is an example. I do not think that the opposition groups in Syria have strong faith in a Swedish-style democracy. And I think that the opposition is also committing massacres and crimes against humanity. It is particularly obvious that radical elements including al-Qaeda are trying to become influential in this region. Still, this should not mean we have to defend Assad.

The Alevis, Christians and other minorities are worried about what would happen to them after Assad. Arameans (Syriacs) in Syria have said that their churches have been burnt down and have suggested that radical elements like al-Qaeda have been intimidating them. Hillary Clinton, while strongly criticizing Assad, draws attention to these radical elements. At a summit recently held in ─░stanbul, Turkey focused attention on the Democratic Union Party (PYD) whereas Clinton referred to the risk associated with these elements because, as a Muslim democratic state, Turkey's support in this matter is particularly important.

I believe that although the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is being supported against the Assad regime, those who support it are also letting the FSA know that the radical elements within their group should not be allowed to become influential because the new regime after Assad should be pluralistic and they should not repeat past mistakes. Whether the Syrian opposition is mature enough to realize this is not apparent in the current wartime conditions. However, even if the world allows the emergence of another brutal regime, the end of that regime would be no different than that of Assad's administration, with the exception that more people would die.

2012-08-12