Erdoğan announces Syria summit

Last Saturday Turkey's President Erdoğan announced a summit on 5 March at which he will discuss the situation in the embattled Syrian province of Idlib with Russia, Germany and France. He is calling on Berlin and Paris and also Moscow to take concrete steps to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Idlib. Europe's press discusses whether and how this can succeed.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Ankara needs political support

The taz sees Erdoğan with his back to the wall:

“Assad's troops are forcing more and more people to flee. Erdoğan [must] now make sure that there is a protection zone for the refugees on the Syrian side of the border. But to do this Putin, and ultimately his ally Assad, must agree to the idea of leaving at least a small part of Idlib untouched as a mass refugee camp. Militarily, despite all his sabre-rattling Erdoğan cannot force this agreement. He would ultimately have to take on the Russian military, and that would be political and military suicide. This is why the Turkish president now urgently needs political support.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Europe must exert more pressure

The EU should use its economic power to force an end to the fighting in Idlib, The Irish Times demands:

“Turkey and Russia, as chief protagonists, have the power to end the crisis but have so far shown that they regard the welfare of the three million civilians in Idlib as of less concern than their own narrow strategic interests. ... But European powers also have leverage, given the powerful sanctions they can deploy (and from which Russia yearns to be released) and the fact that the EU will have to be involved in Syria's reconstruction. With the US having walked off the pitch, Europe must stand up, confront Turkey and Russia and defend the civilians of Idlib at their hour of greatest need.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

Turkey has already lost this war

The price of Ankara's military mission in Idlib is no longer in proportion to the actual situation, Artı Gerçek complains:

“Turkish soldiers are fighting side by side with jihadist gangs on Syrian soil without knowing for what or for whom, pretty much just waiting to die. ... The [Turkish presidential] palace's demand that Russia withdraw its support from the Syrian forces has been rejected. The Kremlin will likely continue to support Damascus' operations. ... At this point it becomes increasingly relevant that Ankara is a warring party in Syria, and as such it is one of the losers. Because all the country's resources are being mobilised for combat, the economic crisis is worsening and young people are being targeted in a meaningless war.”