Erdogan and Assad: Reconciliation, shift or freezing of the conflict?

The latest news regarding Turkey and Syria revolves around Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statements about the desirability of reconciliation between the Syrian opposition and the regime, rumors about the possibility of a phone call between Erdogan and Assad, and the Syrians’ reaction to all of this.
Here’s what Mevlut Cavusoglu said in light of the news that he met with the Assad regime’s foreign minister, Faisal al-Mekdad: «We have to reach an agreement with the opposition and the regime in Syria. Otherwise, there will be no lasting peace, we always say that. To avoid fragmentation in Syria, there must be a strong administration. Unity and solidarity are the only way to achieve a will that can rule every corner of its country.»
The most notable reaction came from Abu Ahmad Nur, the commander of the 3rd Corps of the Syrian National Army, who said, «Yes, we can reconcile if Ghayath Matar and Hamza al-Hatib agree to it. These were the first participants in peaceful protests in Syria to be killed by Assad’s security forces in 2011, one of them an 11-year-old boy at the time. Most of the leaders of the Syrian opposition reacted similarly to these discussions. Some Syrians participating in the protests even began burning Turkish flags in anger.»
As a result, pro-government Turkish commentators began to write that talks about an upcoming meeting between Erdogan and Assad were nothing more than rumors, and the Turkish Foreign Ministry declared that it would not abandon its support for the Syrian opposition and that only the opposition should make the decision about reconciliation with the regime. Well, let’s see what is behind all this and how it will end.
In 2023, Turkey will hold crucial elections, and sociological surveys show that dissatisfaction with the massive presence of Syrian refugees in the country continues to grow in Turkish society, especially against the backdrop of inflation and economic problems. Therefore, the desire to solve the Syrian problem in a way that would allow the refugees to return to Syria and relieve Turkey is understandable.
However, the problem is that this problem can be solved in different ways. One could recognize Assad, reconcile with him, hand over the Syrian rebels to him for punishment, and open a corridor to Europe, thus completely breaking up with him. Needless to say, this would be not only a colossal betrayal but also a moral and political disaster. It would be a betrayal not only to the Syrians but also to Erdogan himself, who once supported the Syrian resistance against Assad, gave it hope, and repeatedly declared that reconciliation with the Syrian tyrant would be impossible after he had shed rivers of blood.
The other way, which Erdogan has mentioned in the past, is to remove the dictator and allow the Syrians to return to a liberated Syria. Perhaps Turkey does not have the ability to solve this problem militarily at the moment, and neither this bloody psychopath nor his external backers will pursue a peaceful solution through Assad’s resignation and the formation of a government of national reconciliation. Therefore, in this situation, the only remaining option to achieve the stated goals is to expand the Turkish safe zone and improve the administrative and economic situation in the territory of Syria under the control of Turkey and its allies, which would accelerate the resettlement of some Syrians there.
However, this option is opposed by the regime, which continues its military provocations, and Russia, which supports it. Meanwhile, the current Turkish government is further deteriorating its relations with the West precisely because of its cooperation with Russia. Therefore, one can only speculate (figuratively speaking, of course) where this policy will lead, including in Syria…

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