Relinquishing its vocation to be a social state, the Turkish government is now providing us with its bank details amid the coronavirus pandemic. What this shows is that the Turkish state does not intend to give a helping hand to citizens during tough times. Despite that, it is not ready to give up on its endless wars in Syria and Libya.
Faruk Loğoğlu writes: Let us remember the diplomatic breakthroughs triggered by disparate unrelated events in the world. The Ping-Pong diplomacy started with an invitation by China of an American ping-pong team in 1971. Turkish-Greek relations took a turn for the better after the two successive earthquakes in 1999. Today, Syria needs help to fight COVID-19. Turkey should be a leading partner in this humanitarian endeavor.
Turkish and Russian officials have largely reached an agreement on details of a ceasefire in Syria's Idlib region during talks in Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on March 12. "The Russian military delegation arrived and talks continue. We reached a great deal of agreement," Akar told reporters in the capital Ankara, adding that all Turkish forces in Idlib remained in place.
Libya's eastern-based government linked to military commander Khalifa Haftar opened an embassy in Syria on March 3 and called for the two countries to unite in their common fight against Turkey-backed militant groups. "Terrorism will kill any Arab country if it's permitted and if the criminal [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan is permitted to win this fight," Syria's deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad said at a ceremony to open the embassy.
The Turkish army should head to Damascus, put a sack over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's head and deal the final blow to the "bloody and filthy regime" if politics and diplomacy fail, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said on March 3. Bahçeli, who is an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that Russia and Syria should not test Turkey's patience any longer.
Turkish Defense Ministry has said that Turkey downed a Syrian L-39 type warplane in Idlib. On March 1, Turkey downed two Syrian jets in Idlib. The Syrian military closed the airspace over the province, warning that it would treat any violators as hostile targets and shoot them down.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 2 said that the losses of the Syrian army "are just beginning," adding "If they do not withdraw to the lines Turkey has determined as soon as possible, they will not have a head left on their shoulders." He also said that the "the regime suffered one of its biggest losses" after last week's attack that killed 34 Turkish soldiers in Idlib.
A group of people on early Feb. 28 protested outside the Russian Consulate General in Istanbul against an attack that targeted Turkish troops in northwestern Idlib, Syria. “The whole world knows that Russia and [Syrian] regime forces were behind the attack,” said Sezgin Çelik, one of the protesters.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited Syrian border on Feb. 28, following a hectic night of events in the country's Idlib province. Akar and the top commanders also visited Hatay State Hospital to see the soldiers wounded in the attack.
Russia on Feb. 28 said it was sending two warships armed with cruise missiles to waters off the Syrian coast and blamed Ankara for the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria's Idlib region the previous day. "Turkish military who were in the terrorist units’ battle formations came under Syrian troops’ fire near the inhabited community of Behun on Feb. 27," the ministry said.
Syrian rebels backed by the Turkish military have recaptured the strategic town of Saraqeb, the first significant reverse for the Syrian army in a Russian-backed offensive that had made swift gains, the rebels said on Feb. 27.
An airstrike has killed two Turkish soldiers in Syria's Idlib, Turkish Defense Ministry said on Feb. 20. Amid the escalating situation, Turkey asked the United States to deploy two Patriot missile-defense batteries on its southern border to free it to punish any future attacks by Syrian troops backed by Russian air power, Bloomberg cited a Turkish official as saying.
Ankara and Moscow are discussing possible joint patrols as one way to reach a deal to halt fighting and stem an exodus of civilians in Syria's Idlib region, a Turkish official said on Feb. 20. The official said the talks with Russia had not been "completely without a result." The discussions had moved forward but reached no final decision, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Turkey-backed rebels have shot down a Syrian army helicopter in western Aleppo, the second such incident in three days. A video was released shortly after the incident, showing the moment the militant anti-aircraft missile hit the Syrian military chopper.
Syria's parliament has backed a resolution condemning the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide, in a move that came amid increased tensions between Ankara and Damascus in Idlib. In the past, Syria allowed the recognition of the genocide inside the country, but the government did not officially recognize it due to ties with Ankara.