Moscow, Ankara and Tehran as peacemaking powers?
Russia, Iran and Turkey have signed an agreement on the future of Syria. They intend to guarantee a nationwide ceasefire, have declared the fight against the IS terror militia and other Jihadist groups to be their main goal and have ruled out a change of regime. Commentators explain how this new alliance has come about.
The initiative lies in Putin's hands
Moscow is calling the tune in Syria, Milliyet explains:
“The meeting and the reconciliation in Moscow should be seen as a victory for Russian diplomacy. The fact that Russia is partnering up with Turkey and at least for the time being leaving the US out in the cold shows that the whole initiative is being orchestrated by Putin and that the Syrian crisis is indeed moving in the direction of a 'Russian peace'. … However, we can expect that the US, which is currently excluded, will start taking action and enter a dialogue with Russia once Donald Trump takes office on January 20.”
If it serves the cause of peace - why not?
Deutschlandfunk explains how the unexpected alliance between Moscow, Ankara and Teheran came about:
“The main issue is ceasefire negotiations with the regime and the rebels in Syria. This is the precondition for large-scale humanitarian assistance. Here the partners should rely above all on the competences of Turkey. The declaration also states that the conflict cannot be resolved militarily. It would be nice if Turkey were to show a similar insight into its own internal conflict with the Kurds. For reconstruction, the three states foresee a multi-confessional, democratic and secular Syria. This would probably be the only way for the Alawite Assad to continue to govern the predominantly Sunni population with the blessing of Shiite Islam. And Turkey could hope to do some good business in the reconstruction of Syria. The final declaration primarily pursues the three participating states’ own interests. But if this really serves the cause of peace - then why not?”
Erdoğan wins new friends and enemies
The declaration from Moscow highlights the dilemma in which Ankara finds itself, Politis writes:
“America is furious. Europe is furious. The jihadists are furious. With whom? With Turkey! They think they’ve been betrayed by Turkey, that Turkey is the one that’s done a U-turn in its policy. It has distanced itself from those it started out with and gone over to the other side. Erdoğan had sworn he would bring down Assad. But soon he’ll be calling him 'Brother Assad'. As if absolutely nothing had happened. ... Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are furious with Turkey. Erdoğan has signed an agreement with Russia but made new enemies in the process! His new enemies are his old friends! Will they leave Turkey alone after this U-turn, after this betrayal?”
Far-sighted diplomacy from Moscow
The Moscow Declaration is the result of outstanding Russian diplomacy, Imerisia writes in praise:
“In the last three years, since autumn 2013, Moscow has been accepted by the US as a difficult dialogue partner, but also as part of the solution to the problem of how to tackle Islamic fundamentalism. ... Today, while the US has upset its old allies Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia and has not entirely succeeded in improving relations with Teheran, Russia is mediating between Turkey and Iran in order to find a compromise for Syria. At the same time Moscow is in constant contact with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Traditionally, conservative Russian diplomacy never reacts without prior careful consideration: it would never take rash action in revenge for the murder of the ambassador in Ankara, just as its reaction to the shooting down of a jet by the Turkish air force a year ago displayed an admirable degree of self-control. ”