Erdogan’s solo

“Historical meeting” on Syria has become the triumph of the Turkish president

On Saturday, the long-awaited summit of the leaders of Russia, Turkey, France and Germany took place in Turkey. Announced in the summer, it was assumed that it will take place in early September. Apparently, something went wrong. But it does not matter. It is important that there were no delegates from the United States who, as you know, always have their own opinion on things. But the special representative of the UN Secretary General for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and representatives of the “Astana format” were present.

At the end of the negotiations, Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the floor first, as is customary in such cases. He began by saying that he greeted everyone, and addressed each of his main guests by name. And he began with Putin, and graduated from Merkel and de Mistura. Of course, one shouldn’t see anything in this, but throughout the whole speech the Turkish leader somehow singled out the Russian president more. For the rest, Erdogan said everything he wanted, without embarrassing anyone and not being afraid to hurt someone.

He noted that this summit is a kind of continuation of the Astana process, only with the involvement of France and Germany. And one of the main goals of this unexpected expansion is international support of the memorandum on the establishment of the Constitutional Council in Syria, signed by Putin and Erdogan. Then the Turkish leader abruptly turned to the problem of terrorism. And then he did not consider either Merkel or Macron.

Erdogan called the Islamic State and the Democratic Union’s of Kurdish party the main terrorist threat. The latter controls the detachments of the people’s self-defense and is actually ruling in the self-proclaimed Kurdish state of Rojava, which occupies the northern and eastern regions of Syria. Moreover, Erdogan even managed to mention the thousands of terrorists liquidated by the Turkish army. We are talking about the Kurds, because Ankara’s operations were 99% against them.

All would be okay, except that the Germans and the French repeatedly expressed extremely disapproving of Turkey’s actions in this direction, while these Popular Self-Defense Units and the Democratic Union do not regard terrorists as Macro or Merkel. However, Erdogan and our closest ally, Bashar al-Assad, did not spare. He mentioned the bloody regime and said that Assad “killed about one million people” and, apparently, is not going to stop, as “the massacres continue.”

All other participants of the press conference were more restrained. Unless Macron tried to play a little American and demonstrate his integrity with respect to official Damascus – he talked a lot about unacceptable actions by the regime, mentioned chemical weapons and so on.

Putin and Merkel got off with standard phrases – they spoke in support of the Idlib peace agreement, stated the need for diplomacy, the restoration of peace in Syria, and the like. These are, perhaps, all the most interesting moments of the final statements. In general, the impression was that nothing new had happened – an ordinary meeting of world leaders without any serious consequences. However, it is known that far from all is submitted to the press conference. Something was discussed behind the scenes, and besides a multilateral meeting there were also bilateral ones.

Turkish expert Ender Imrek believes that this meeting in Istanbul will not change anything in Syria.


– There were two main actors – Putin and Erdogan. They themselves tried to make it clear to everyone that Merkel and Macron are present simply as honored guests. Undoubtedly, by their presence they added significance to this summit, but no more than that. Putin and Erdogan, as I know, have already held two face-to-face meetings. One short-term took place before the negotiations, the second – after. And at the press conference, they often talked about the success of their deal on Idlib, and this even forced Macron to agree that everything turned out really well. France and Germany were not needed for this at all and could not have any influence. But nevertheless Macron was necessary here necessarily. Erdogan needs to negotiate with him because of the difficult situation in the north-east of Aleppo.

– Why?

  • The French transferred hundreds of military men to the vicinity of Manbij (the Turks were previously going to attack this city because the Kurds were holding it, but the Americans were able to delay this attack, but the situation is still not settled .

Obviously, this is being done in order to keep Erdogan, or rather, the Turkish army, which will act on his orders. But Manbidj is an effective lever of pressure on the USA, and Erdogan has already demonstrated this. With the arrival of the French, who also operate under the auspices of Washington, the situation may change dramatically. As for Merkel, there is only one conversation.

Refugees and funding programs for their content.

This is also a Syrian issue, but he has nothing to do with the joint statement, even though at a press conference they mentioned about the refugees. The statement itself after the meeting is strange – everything is very trite. It turns out that they spent almost three hours so that everyone said that terrorism must be defeated? We have already heard it, and we heard that they all recognize the sovereignty of Syria. Nothing more in this joint statement. And if this is only the case, and it was just necessary to discuss a separate question with each of the visitors, then there was no point in putting them together.

  • And yet: who from the quartet of leaders scored more points at this meeting?

– Erdogan unequivocally won more from this meeting. For the internal audience, his image is increasingly served as the image of a leader of a nation or leader, a person with whom Turkey will acquire its former greatness and so on. He proves it with a deed – the leaders of the two nuclear powers and the head of the largest European economy come to him in Istanbul. At the same time, there was information that Erdogan promised to organize this summit even before he had held preliminary talks with potential participants. It is risky, because Merkel, for example, could refuse, but it still happened, and this establishes Erdogan’s status as a respected leader with influence on world politics. With a weak economy, this is extremely important to him. I noticed how other participants behaved at the press conference. Sometimes it seemed that they had come only to agree with Erdogan and praise him. He was not objected, even when he said something unpleasant for Merkel or for Macron. No one in his speech returned to his controversial words.

– It is remotely similar to how people used to come to Europe from the Ottoman Sultan with petitions and bows.

– Exactly. With Putin, everything is different, of course. But for some reason he was laconic at this time, although he usually likes jokes and can express his point of view when the previous speaker said something with which he does not agree. In general, this is similar to the success of the next Recep Tayyip Erdogan project. But this project had nothing to do with Syria. In Syria, Erdogan communicates with only a few countries – with the United States, Russia and Iran. With the rest of them the contacts are very limited, France and are Germany among them.