Turkey’s military operation in the Syrian district of Afrin has completed its first stage, which was the seizure of the city of Afrin. After this difficult episode, Turkey is now taking its efforts into the political arena.
Turkey’s relations with Arab countries have reached a record low. Relations may of course deteriorate between countries from time to time when their national interests collide, but in the case of Turkey and Arab countries, there was no threat to the interests of either side.
Syrian government forces are tightening their grip around Ghouta. The elimination of opposition fighters in this enclave is important for the regime because it is the closest pocket of resistance to the capital.
With a view to lowering the tension in Turkish-American relations, US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added Turkey to their tour of the Middle East last week.
There was an appetite in the early years of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to support Turkey’s accession to the European Union. This appetite died down in later years for reasons attributable mainly to the EU, but also to Turkey.
The Syrian National Dialogue Congress was held last week in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi and ended with modest results, mainly because of the absence of the main opposition groups. The meeting was convened thanks to Russia’s persistent efforts.
Turkey’s military operation in Afrin is likely to change several paradigms in the region and beyond. One of them will be the test for NATO solidarity, which is enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.