How much peace will come from the Syria summit?
At their summit in Ankara the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran have resolved to quickly establish peace in Syria. However, their different interests were also manifest at the meeting. Commentators criticise Europe's lack of involvement and explain why Russian and Iran have won the war twice over.
No one motivated by altruism here
Each of the three summit participants have their own interests in Syria, Večer comments:
“Russia wants to gradually withdraw from the battlefields, but not from Syria entirely, where it wants to maintain two strategically important military bases. Iran wants the upper hand in the eternal conflict between the Shiite and the Sunni Muslims. ... Turkey has set out on a military march in northern Syria in the name of protecting its own border. But it is not worried about the border but the Kurds living in the area, who may dream of joining forces with their brothers in Iran, Iraq and of course Turkey and founding their own Kurdish state. Ankara, like Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus, will never go along with this. ... The only good news is that the bloodshed will probably soon come to an end.”
The three-way summit once again highlights the fact that Europe has never had a Syria strategy worth the name, Handelsblatt's Turkey correspondent Ozan Demircan comments:
“First of all the goal was to support the peaceful revolution, then to topple Assad, still later to take in the flood of refugees and now to apply diplomatic pressure in an area where diplomacy has long ceased to be effective. And now the influence of Brussels, Berlin and Paris is shrinking even more. To put it bluntly, in the Syria conflict Europe has become purely a donor, fit only to tidy up the mess left by the war crimes of others. Russia, Iran and Turkey cause unrest and then Europe takes in the asylum seekers and pays other countries like Turkey to keep their numbers under control. As a 'division of labour' that's not exactly satisfying.”
Summit also good for EU countries
Instead of demonising the summit the EU should see it as complementing its own policies, Hürriyet Daily News remonstrates:
“Perhaps the best way for both sides to get what they want is for them to both take simultaneous steps, without waiting for the other side to move first. And instead of trying to ignore the Astana process between Turkey, Russia and Iran for de-escalation in Syria, the EU should perhaps try to help it along. All three presidents underlined yesterday that the Astana process is not an alternative to the Geneva process but simply a compliment to it. If that process is intended for the good of the people of the region, it also means it is good for the security of EU countries.”
West's adversaries get Turkey on their side
The three-way alliance is the biggest paradox of the Syria war, Middle East expert Alberto Negri writes in Il Manifesto:
“A country that has been a member of Nato since the 1950s and a bulwark of the alliance against Moscow is joining forces with Russia and Iran - the arch enemy of the US and Israel. Or to put it another way: Turkey, a country belonging to the Atlantic Alliance, enters a pact with the West's - real or supposed - adversaries to divvy up zones of influence in Syria. ... If the plan works it means that Russia and Iran will have won the war in Syria not once but twice. The first victory was keeping Assad in power. The second is getting one of Nato's mainstays on their side. Turkey not only houses Nato bases but also US missiles aimed at Moscow and Tehran.”