Erdogan’s assault in Syria will draw in regional powers, and risks handing Turkey its own Yemen-style quagmire

The Turkish president, who always championed Turkey’s ‘zero-problems’ policy with its neighbours, has ended up kicking off what has become a ‘zero-peace’ reality

Ahmed Aboudouh

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has wasted no time with the green light granted by his opposite number in Washington. He has ordered his military into north-east Syria in the first stage of what many fear will be a bid to ethnically cleanse an area of 30-40km deep into Syria of its Kurdish local inhabitants.

France, Britain, Germany, and most Arab countries, lashed out at Erdogan. US Senator Lindsay Graham said he is leading a bipartisan effort to impose “severe sanctions against Turkey for their invasion.”

Erdogan will brush this off for now, and has reason to enjoy his new-found freedom, but this will not be a stroll. It risks becoming another Yemen-like quagmire where the Turkish military could be bogged down for years to come.

The Turkish military operation, enabled by President Trump’s wrong-headed betrayal of the Kurds, carries one true objective for Erdogan: political redemption. By offering a route to solve his refugee dilemma, Erdogan thinks he could turn the wheel of Turkey’s domestic politics, and bounce back from the humiliation his ruling AKP party suffered in the mayoral elections in Istanbul this summer.

But what is widely thought of in Turkey as a simple dash over the border, contains a deadly baited trap behind the hills of Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ain and other Kurdish towns.


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