Turkey made a series of political miscalculations during the Syrian crisis, former Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakissaid, adding that Ankara had to deal with the consequences of those mistakes at the present time.
“Turkey committed several mistakes in its policies during the Syrian crisis. One of the mistakes was putting all our eggs in one basket which is something that should be avoided in diplomacy. Turkey did not follow this rule and built its policy based on the assumption that Syrian President Bashar Assad would leave his post soon. However, this assumption was incorrect and now Turkey has to suffer the consequences”, the former foreign minister said.
Turkey’s second mistake, according to Yakis, was the severing of diplomatic ties and communication channels with Syria.
Yakis also spoke about Turkey’s alleged role in training armed opposition in Syria and providing those groups with weapons, which was widely covered by international and Turkish media but had never been officially acknowledged by the Turkish government.
“When the western powers saw that the weapons that they were sending to Syria were ending up in the hands of extremist groups, they stopped exporting them. But Turkey stalled and as a result, to use football terminology, it ended up ‘offside,’ turning into a transit country, through which arms and jihadists travelled to Syria”, Yakis said.
In 2011, soon after the anti-government protests erupted into a violent uprising in Syria, then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the incumbent Turkish leader, called for Assad’s resignation.
Following the protests and conflict, Syria descended into a seven-year civil war, during which Turkey openly supported the rebel groups fighting against Assad’s government. As a result, the previously friendly relations between Ankara and Damascus have soured due to the fact that Assad has managed to remain in power.