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"Erdogan is weaker than he lets appear"

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on August 1st. BURHAN OZBILICI / AP

Geostratist and specialist in irregular conflicts, Gerard Chaliand, who travels regularly to Syria and Iraq, analyzes the situation in the Rojava, autonomous region of Syrian Kurdistan, after the threat of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to enter into this territory, and the restructuring of the Islamic State (IS) organization in the region. He is the author of dozens of books, among which Why do we lose the war? A new Western art (Odile Jacob, 2016).

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After the Turkish President's threats to enter Syrian territory east of the Euphrates, on which the negotiations between Turks, Americans and Kurds about the securing the Turkish-Syrian border?

The negotiations are at a standstill, insofar as the objectives of each other are radically opposed.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to finish with the Kurds of Syria. If the IS is a nuisance, the real danger for the Kurds in Syria is in the interventionist aims of the Turkish leader on Syrian soil, what he calls a "Corridor of peace".

American and French forces, in principle, will remain present for an indefinite period. The US-Turkish litigation, born out of the purchase of the Russian anti-aircraft defense system S-400, was followed by Washington's refusal to deliver F-35 aircraft to Turkey. A tussle that can cost Turkey more than the United States and whose winner is Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latter reinforces Bashar Al-Assad's goal of controlling, ultimately, Idlib, where reigns a fragile compromise between Russia and Turkey.

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Moreover, after a second stop at the municipal elections in Istanbul, Erdogan noted the erosion of his training, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), with the Ali Babacan, who intends to form a new political group that could join Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu, former foreign minister, and Abdullah Gul, former president. Although he plays with the ultra-nationalism and demonization of Westerners, Erdogan is weaker than he lets it appear.

As for the Kurds, they remain divided, paying for their lack of an ethnic tradition. The Kurds of Iraq are doing better than ever, sharing a cordial relationship with Turkey without losing sight of their own interests. The Kurds of Syria are experiencing tensions with the Arabs of Rakka and Deir ez-Zor. Nothing is easy in these historical reports where the victors of yesterday (Arabs) find themselves in the position of non-decision-makers, although the majority, and under the leadership of the victims of yesterday (Kurds).


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