US Withdrawal Decision: What’s Next for Turkey in Syria?
- Dr. Magdalena Kirchner, Chief Operating Officer and a Senior Analyst, CONIAS Risk Intelligence
- Dr. Nicholas Danforth, Visiting Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
- Prof. Dr. Mesut Özcan, Director Diplomacy Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
- Dr. Kadri Taştan, Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Almost eight years in, the Syrian Civil War seems as convoluted as ever and an end is not in sight. Even the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Syria (and the subsequent kind of walk-back) only added to the turmoil and will definitely cause U.S. allies to seek assurances elsewhere. Turkey on the one hand appears as a beneficiary of this decision, since it demonstrably weakens the position of the Kurdish YPG forces, which is Ankara’s primary foreign policy objective regarding Syria. On the other hand, it empowers Russia and the Syrian regime. In contrast to an increasing number of Arab countries, Turkey refuses to accept the Syrian regime’s survival. More importantly, although Russia has some interest in keeping Turkey at its side, mainly to further weaken the NATO alliance, Turkey is highly dependent on Russia’s explicit and implicit approval for almost all issues Syria. Thus, the question remains, what comes next for Turkey in Syria?
The discussion will attempt to assess the state of the U.S. commitment to remain involved in Syria, analyze implications for Turkey and look at potential consequences for other actors involved.
This roundtable discussion is part of a series of events and analyses organized as part of the GMF-TOBB Fellowship on Turkey, Europe, and Global Issues, launched by GMF in partnership with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in 2017.
Please note that this event is invitation-only. The discussion will be under Chatham House Rules.