Why the rapprochement? Turkey knows how to corrupt
Paris is the only capital that seriously supports Ankara’s proposal to set up a buffer zone along the Syrian border. At the same time, Hollande and Erdogan are the only leaders who prioritize the slogan “Assad must go!” Assad is already in the crosshairs of Ankara and Paris. While the United States hints at cooperation with Tehran and Damascus in its strategy against IS, Turkey and France insist on calling the Assad regime “the real enemy.” The two capitals resist any solution that includes Assad, and both leaders continue to support the “moderate Syrian opposition,” which is far from being a real force on the ground today. Ankara, resistant to both Assad remaining in power and the emergence of a new Kurdish entity at its borders, seeks out the conditions denied by Washington by flirting with Paris. write Arzu Cakir Morin
But why is France the only Western country backing Ankara’s buffer zone proposal? Paris was originally behind the idea of creating an “autonomous zone” in northern Syria in 2012. The idea was to settle the opposition there and set up a transitional government. A well-known French journalist and Middle East expert, Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro, objected to the idea and said the autonomous zone would make Free Syrian Army commanders easy targets. The United States turned down the idea for the same reason.
After a decade of frozen ties, Turkey appears to be satisfied with the thaw in relations with France. As a senior Turkish diplomat based in Paris often repeats, “If the bilateral ties collapsed years ago, it would not have much significance. But the relations are so high up these days, any fall from that height will be disastrous for both of us.”