The views expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SyriacPress.
By Aydin Gabriel
In the Caucasus, the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia continues in all intensity, even though there are “humanitarian ceasefires” from time to time. Although the war is not fought inside Turkey, this war affects us on many points. And in these times when we have to think sane and with common sense, it has become very difficult in Turkey to act logically and say what is right and what is wrong. In such situations, our government is led by emotions instead of logic, heroism and loyalty are put above truth, and our leaders evaluate everything within this framework.
For this reason, it is difficult for us to discern how much of what we are presented with about the war is true and how much is propaganda. For example, according to the narration of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, 241 Armenian tanks have been destroyed in the war so far, and nearly 50 tanks have been seized. However, according to international reports, Armenia only has 200 tanks and 204 armored vehicles of different types.
Anyway, I want to touch on an other aspect of the issue. If you remember, problems in the eastern Mediterranean were at their highest and war between Greece and Turkey would break out any moment, but then Turkey, together with Azerbaijan, started military exercises in Azerbaijan. And when negotiations between Turkey and Greece, through the intervention of the European Union, just had started, war broke out in the Caucasus.
According to what Turkey told us through its war propaganda, Armenia started the war and Azerbaijan was framed to be fighting to defend Karabakh, which it said was under occupation by Armenia. The international public opinion says that a comprehensive attack was launched by Azerbaijan in the Caucasus, where low intensity conflicts had been taking place for a long time. As it is known, the state of war between Azerbaijan and Armenia has been going on for a long time. However, although hostilities were fierce from time to time, they never reached the level they did today.
So, the question of what has changed comes to mind. In my opinion, in order to find logical answers to this question, we have to look at the developments in Turkey in recent years. There have been many developments in Turkey at home and abroad.
As you know, the position of Turkey in Libya is uncertain at the moment. Turkey is faced with serious changes in Libya where Government of National Accord forces lost much power and control, and Libya’s Prime Minister Sarraj resigned. Furthermore, the warring parties have come to an agreement for a permanent ceasefire. Unfortunately, we are not much informed about the latest talks and the results they have produced.
In Syria, Turkey seems to be giving up its “guarantor” role, which in the beginning was announced with great fanfare, in the surveillance zone in northeastern Idlib. It is leaving quietly. Turkey cleared its forces from four more military posts this week. This will create many new developments. However, we do not know the reasons for this withdrawal, because no statement has been made on the matter.
Also known is that Turkey has deployed and commissioned paramilitary groups (I will not use the term mercenaries here) in Syria and Libya. Due to the recent developments described above, either a new battlefield had to be created for these paramilitary groups or they had to be disbanded. It seems that given its current political situation and mindset, Turkey has chosen to transfer these paramilitary forces elsewhere, at least for a while, rather than purge these forces. In this way, Turkey gains time and has become a big brother to some.
In the meantime, elections were held in Cyprus. The person who best defended the Turkish cause was chosen and Prime Minister Ersin Tatar was elected president. This new president, in the last term of his prime ministry and at the expense of a rift in his government, on Turkey’s request, immediately moved to open a part of abandoned Maraş (Varosha, Famagusta).
New questions come to my mind here; why, for example, would a prime minister make such an important decision at the expense of a government crisis? And why the decision only at the end of his prime ministry and on the eve of presidential elections for which he is a candidate? I really wonder…
In fact, the cases of Cyprus and Karabakh are very similar to each other, i.e. Turkey’s presence in Cyprus and Armenia’s involvement in Karabakh raise serious questions of similarity. What I am trying to say is that, if Turkey’s stance with regards to Cyprus is right, then Armenia’s position on Karabakh is also a justified claim. If Turkey calls Armenia’s position on Karabakh an invasion, then Turkey has given others the right to say that “Turkey occupies Cyprus”.
Turkey is currently in the hands of those who have tied their stay in power to crisis and chaos. They know that when the existing tensions disappear, all questions and criticism will be directed at them. That is why the ruling powers try to excite Turkish society. Hate speech is therefore used to provoke. Changing the Hagia Sophia into a mosque was for this purpose. In short, the ruling powers are constantly trying to create tensions to extend their time in power. Because Turkey’s current situation is really bad. Instead of saying “look at exchange rates to understand this”, I say go look at the “hanging bread” project of the ruling coalition partner National Action Party (MHP).
Against this background, the war in the Caucasus is a new lifeline for the Turkish government. It creates an atmosphere of complete tension in both the international political arena and domestic public opinion. It contains every imaginable hostility. It should be clearly remembered here that with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the steps take to create the Turkish Republic, we were drawn into the Caucasus with a similar dream.
Whatever it is, there is a serious war going on and people are dying. Therefore, everything is true; lies, pain, tears, and death…
Disclaimer: Translated form the original Turkish. Originally published on November 9, 2020, by Gazete Sabro.