BY IHSAN AKTAŞ
MAR 04, 2023 – DAILY SABAH
A destroyed Russian T-72 tank is photographed near Pokrovy Presvyatoyi Bohorodytsi Church, in the city of Svyatohirs’k, Donetsk region, Ukraine, March 1, 2023. (AFP Photo)
Today, the Russia-Ukraine war is facing a situation in which neither party is willing to give up. As the war pushes on, the two parties continue to deplete human resources, people die and traumas continue
Although wars are the struggle of two states, two separate nations, two sides against each other, in a way, they are the efforts of humankind to self-destruct.
Throughout the ages, states have fought each other, and empires have established giant armies, some of which could have almost challenged even today’s armed forces.
The army established by Alexander the Great started an adventure from Macedonia, beyond the borders of today’s India, to the Hindu Kush mountains. Alexander continued on his way by establishing many cities, starting from today’s Alexandria and Hatay.
There are rumors that Alexander built a raft bridge over the Bosporus and crossed the strait with his army. There are also rumors that the Iranian ruler Darius while walking toward Greece with his army, set up his tent on the present Salacak ridges of Istanbul and crossed the Üsküdar coast over a bridge his army built. And these ambitious people formed great armies with great power and great organization with such troops, which is not easy to challenge even today.
Humankind continues to kill each other in modern times.
On the other hand, the century-changing wars, World War I and World War II, which the European states fought amongst themselves, are examples of how humanity has tried to destroy itself.
The Ottomans organized great expeditions to Europe, Egypt, the East and the Caucasus. They extended one end of their empire to the Caucasus and the other to the border of today’s Germany by forming large armies from its foundation until its collapse.
No matter how modern the world becomes, how many satellites humankind launches into space and how widespread the communication network is, people continue to kill each other.
In recent years, after the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, with the small wars in African countries and especially with the Syrian war, a new era has started where the states conduct wars essentially through some agents or terrorist organizations rather than their armies.
This new type of war is called a “proxy war.” Syria has been the clearest example of how and in what way the big states wage proxy wars and how they destroy a nation by using small groups.
Since the Syrian civil war has not yet concluded in peace, it has continued to shed blood for 10 years. Nearly a million people have lost their lives, and around 10 million were displaced. Today, decent, well-educated, qualified and experienced people of Syria live in exile in Türkiye, Jordan, Lebanon, Europe and all over.
At the point we have reached, a new war has emerged from the great rivalry between NATO and Russia. Although it looks like a Ukraine-Russia war on the surface, it is indeed a massive war between NATO and Russia, which continues on the territory of Ukraine.
No peace on the horizon
It’s been a year since the Ukraine-Russia war started. But the parties to the war, neither Russia nor Ukraine nor the West, do not have a stance to stop it.
The meeting attended by Ukrainians and Russians in Dolmabahçe, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech and received a standing ovation, was perhaps the closest meeting to peace.
Wars either end with the victory of one side, or when either side cannot win, new borders are agreed upon and re-drawn. Today, the Ukraine war is at a stalemate in which neither party will give up. As war maintains uncertainty, the parties continue to deplete human resources, people die and traumas continue.
Western actors were disturbed by Türkiye’s mediation role at the beginning of the war. Although they have not yet expressed criticism of Türkiye, it seems that today NATO is anxious about the possibility of having the war ended with the mediation of President Erdoğan and Türkiye’s influence.
No country other than Türkiye has something to say to both sides. I do not know how and where the war will evolve in three or four months, but after Türkiye finalizes its elections, it may try again to mediate with the United Nations.
A final note: Türkiye and President Erdoğan assumed a critical role in resolving the food crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war. Erdoğan organized the opening of the grain corridor himself. He offered a place at the table to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
There was an awful disaster recently in Türkiye. Major earthquakes shook the country’s southeast, destroying homes, roads infrastructure and parts of cities, resulting in the deaths of over 45,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands injured.
We would like to see a scene similar to the opening of the grain corridor in which Guterres and President Erdoğan organize a worldwide aid meeting. It seems like a role the U.N. secretary-general should assume today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.
Categories: Eurasia, Europe, Europe and Australia, European Union, Russia, Ukraine
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