Has Turkey betrayed Syria?
The fall of the ‘revolutionary heartland’, the City of Aleppo, spurred arguably more attention than nearly six years of the Syrian crisis. People took to social media, engaged in varying forms of political activism and encouraged spiritual reformation. A feeling of desperation and hopelessness overshadowed many of us. Alongside the collected reaction of many, emotions ran high and some people rifled for culprits before concluding, though never originally thinking otherwise, that it is none other than Turkey that has betrayed the Syrian people.
“You who have īmān! If a deviator brings you a report, scrutinise it carefully in case you attack people in ignorance and so come to greatly regret what you have done.”
In light of what will be said and on the instruction of the above verse, we will revisit this accusation after garnering a more wholesome picture of the past six years of the Turkish-Syrian plight, and Allāh is the source of Tawfīq.
On the Political Front
Let us rewind a little, and recall that it was Turkey that withdrew its ambassador from Syria as early as 2012, closing its embassy and cutting all diplomatic relations with the Regime. This was a complete reversal of the post-1998 move to improve ties between the two states due to Syria’s expulsion of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. From the onset of the brutal crackdown on demonstrators in 2011, it was Turkey that condemned Bashar al-Assad, comparing him to Hitler and calling for his departure. It was Turkey that would later train defectors from the Syrian Army in its own territory, hosting the military and political leadership of the first armed groups sparking the military effort to overthrow the Syrian Regime. By the middle of 2011, Turkey authorised the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) to orchestrate cross-border attacks against the Syrian Regime from within a camp guarded by the Turkish Military. Turkey recognised the opposition, united under the ‘Syrian National Coalition’ as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, before the ‘friends of Syria’ convened to follow suit.
On the Military Front
Turkish authorities pressed on against Assad’s crimes, allowing arms and equipment shipments to rebels from as early as January 2012 and it facilitated Qatari Air Force supplies to rebels through Esenboga airport, near Ankara, every two days. Following the downing of a Turkish jet in 2012, it bolstered its border defences and vowed retaliation. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an address to parliament,
“The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed … Turkey will support Syrian people in every way until they get rid of the bloody dictator and his gang.“
Eventually, reports claimed that ‘daily’ supplies of arms were reaching the Islamic rebels fighting Assad, and hundreds of rebels would reinforce rebels in Azal and Tal Rifaat through the crossing. Rebel group leaders who control the Bab al-Salam border crossing off the Turkish province acknowledged that,
“We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment, mortars and missiles and our tanks…“
Russian media condemned Turkey for supplying what it called ‘terrorists’, who on closer inspection were members of the staunchest opponents of both ISIS and the Syrian Regime. The Iranian press likewise protested Turkey’s military support for Syria’s ‘Takfiri’ rebels, despite assisting a regime guilty of genocide with ‘tens of thousands’ of its revolutionary guards.
As a result of Turkey’s insistence on supporting the Syrians, it found itself stuck between its firm warning and willing military engagement and the passivity of its NATO allies who stopped at condemnation. NATO’s distaste towards supporting its partner in engaging the Syrian military was undeniably clear. Turkey understood that its intervention would prompt a war with Russia and its allies. This was proven by the implicit Russian threat of a ‘permanent war’ following the early 2016 Turkish-Saudi hint at a joint ground incursion to stall the rebels’ losses in Aleppo. Investigative Journalist Robert Parry reported from a source close to Vladimir Putin that Russia threatened Turkey with the use of tactical nuclear weapons should it execute its plans with Saudi Arabia. To falter the achievability of invasion further, the US allegedly staged the July 2016 military coup attempt and, after its catastrophic failure, it exacerbated matters by refusing to surrender its mastermind; Gulen. This was a clear betrayal of trust between the two allies. Could Turkey then trust military support from a nation that attempted to bring down its democracy?
The US and other NATO members went on to provide logistical and military support to the YPG militia, close associates of the radical Kurdish People’s Party, the PKK. This secular group has sought to weaken the revolution, fragment its regions of control and Turkey’s mainland to declare Kurdish sovereignty at Syria’s northern border. Since the start of the uprising, it has enjoyed a conciliatory relationship with the Syrian Regime to achieve this end.
Turkish military intervention in Syria would necessarily involve fighting the groups that compromise its strength at its southern border. As such, in 2014 an absolute parliamentary majority in Turkey voted in favour of a mandate to deploy troops in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS ‘and other terrorist organisations’. Aside from how it panned out in the end, at the opening of parliament, President Tayyip Erdogan combined prioritisation to defeat ISIS with that of removing the Syrian Regime and protecting the territorial integrity of Syria.
Turkey began heavy artillery strikes against Kurdish targets in February 2016, whilst its US and French ‘allies’ demanded that it halted its securing of its borders’ integrity. Military intervention followed in August 2016. Then, in response to intense US pressure to cease actions against Kurdish forces, Turkey rallied the US to support anti-Assad rebels. This was one of two conditions it stipulated before conceding to support the US-backed, secular militia against ISIS, or the umbrella Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the YPG in the area of Manbij. By this, it clearly kept sight of the Syrian peoples’ interests ahead of its own. Not quite characteristic of a government that wants to betray Syria.
It is almost entirely on the basis of Turkey’s refusal to support secular Kurdish militia against ISIS that we are made to believe it is somehow sympathetic to ISIS. Its opposition to some Kurds’ militarised aspirations to establish a state on its southern border does not mean it supports ISIS. This claim is as shallow as saying that the rebels are allies of Hezbollah because the former is against ISIS. Such surface-level understanding and gullibility is what has created today’s plethora of Turkey-bashers. This conclusion, moreover, completely disregards the group’s repeated terror attacks in Turkey, including that at the Suruc Cultural Centre, Ankara’s Railway Station, the deadliest in Turkish history, Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district and the June 2016 Atatürk Airport attack. Turkey continues its military confrontations with the group, surpassing Russia’s aerial campaign that has avoided them, focusing only on anti-Assad rebels. In August 2016, Turkey launched a ground-offensive against both ISIS and the Kurdish YPG, weakening the former and driving the latter east of the Euphrates River. This has facilitated rebel advancement towards the North of Aleppo without hindrance.
On the Humanitarian Front
Camps for Syria’s refugees were erected on Turkish soil from as early as July 2011. Within two years, Government-run camps contained near half a million refugees. As of late 2016, Turkey had accommodated near three million refugees and spent more than $10bn in supporting the humanitarian effort, whilst western governments scrambled to build barricades to hamper their movement and burnt their camps. In President Erdogan’s own words,
“…today we provide humanitarian relief in more than 140 countries on five continents. In fact, Turkey remains the world’s most generous country, spending a bigger share of its GDP on humanitarian aid than any other.“
What about Aleppo?
The revolution heartland, for those who have followed the events of the revolution intently from the beginning, was not originally Aleppo. It was, in fact, Homs. People were enticing Aleppo to rise up against oppression by telling them to follow the example of mighty Homs. Homs, however, did not enjoy great supply routes, being closer to the capital Damascus and largely separated from foreign borders apart from Northern Lebanon. As such, the city was entirely surrounded by regime forces and its allies, forcing the resistance northwards towards Aleppo. The Killis-Azaz and Antakiya-Idlib-Aleppo Turkish border crossings can be credited, after Almighty Allāh ‘azza wa jal, for facilitating its liberation from the regime.
The regime was incapacitated from thoughts of taking Aleppo until they managed to encircle it entirely, cutting off its supply lines. With conspiracies aside, it is difficult to believe Turkey would willingly forsake a city it helped liberate. It is also difficult to believe that those who lambast the Turkish Government on social media harbour a deeper sense of jealously for Aleppo than the Turks.
So why, after so much support for the Syrian struggle, did Turkey ‘leave’ Aleppo to be overrun? In reality, and Allāh knows best, the above odds stood against its obstinate drive to support the Syrians militarily. It was “alone” and “isolated” in the eyes of the world, quite simply; it was forced. Turkish authorities were left only with the power to mediate the safe withdrawal of civilians and armed groups, especially Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra), treating the injured inside Turkey. Ask yourself, with Syrian Regime Militia’s half a decade history of summary execution and genocide, would these savages have spared a single soul in Aleppo without this mediation (after the grace of Allāh)? Some analysts have gone even further, arguing that Turkey intends on moving the fighters to the al-Bab front, essentially coordinating the armed struggle and joining it with its soldiers in the north.
In fact, Sultan Murad Brigade, along with Fatih Sultan Mehmet and Nureddin Zengi rebel Brigades have all indicated plans to participate in Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, alongside the well-known Ahrar al-Sham group, to liberate al-Bab from both ISIS and the PKK. In December 2016, these rebels, backed by Turkish Military, had already gained full control of the highway linking al-Bab to Aleppo and were aided by intense ground and air fire support. Although some have interpreted their 25km proximity to Aleppo as betrayal, others have seen it as a tactical move in what maximises the gains of the Syrians and minimises their losses. Suspicion only spurs creative accusations and brings little benefit.
The above lends Turkey’s leader and its government the ‘benefit of the doubt’. But why should we not, seeing what it has said and done for Turkey and the Muslim world? Turkey’s detractors tell us to not believe the ‘rhetoric’ but gladly accept it when Turkey says it is secular state. They will hold Erdogan against the standards and actions of much greater leaders of the past, whilst paradoxically telling us Turkey is a non-Islamic government.
Russia’s full-weighted and brutal intervention in September 2015, its sending a singular naval aircraft carrier, engaging in some 10,000 sorties and its clear will to destroy every hospital to try to perpetuate the existence of the sadistic regime of Assad sends a message to Turkey. You are alone, wedged between the real betrayers and social media detractors. Those who claim Turkey can simply eradicate the Syrian Regime and hound its obstinate backers, including Russia, Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah and now Egypt among others cannot be taken seriously. Nothing else explains its incongruous stance, which is confusing to some superficial commentators who monochromatically judge against either Suleiman the Magnificent or Kemal Atatürk.
More than having ‘betrayed’ Syria, it is Turkey that has been betrayed.
 Qur’an 49:6
What westerners said that Turkey is a secular state? Erdogan is like most Moslem leaders, including the Saud family. He uses Islam when it’s useful to maintain control, but claims Turkey is secular to deflect criticism by democratic states.
please please remember we muslims are the best ummah.
we will have and have had disgreements in opinions since the time of the sahaabah pbut
but, they did not let thatt divide them and were still side by side in front of the main enemy
we need to stick together; overlook minor differences
beauty of our religion.
we can have differences in opinions and still be best of friends.
Brother Mazhar.. excellent point = “25 mile away from Allepo, but a million excuses from the Truth!”
Excellent point.. spot on!
I totally agree with brother Sulaymān al Murabit! Totally hit the nail on the head. May Allah bless you.
And who are these Syrian Rebels? And for that matter , who is behind this so called Arab Spring? Why it’s a radical faction of Islam, that’s who they are. Just another Islamic Civil war that has been going on since the death of Mohammed. And we in the West are supposed to care? No thanks, keep on killing yourselves for your backwards 7th century way of life. Have a nice day!
Like so many of the above comments have pointed out, Erdogan undertook proactive actions to implement the USA plan. Ie ordering Turkish backed fighters out of Aleppo at the critical time knowing and ensuring this would lead to its collapse and together with Russian, committing to the ceasefire agreement terms ie secular state, continuation of Assad, dividing the fighters into ‘moderate’ and ‘extreme’ (according to colonial designs) and de facto agreement to attack the ones who oppose the above. He has made peace with Israel, he is neogiating a gas pipeline to sell the stolen gas of the Muslims, he swears by secularism. What else does he have to do for the blind to see? Or will the blind never see??
Nobody should be surprised, the matters are black and white and the ummah can make progress now that we have realized that the likes of erdogan work for the colonialists and our future rests with adhering to Islam’s solutions only.
Erdoğan’s hand in the fall of Aleppo
Whilst Aleppo burned last month in an savage offensive executed by the Syrian regime, supported by Russian air power and Iranian militia, Muslims around the world watched on in horror and distress. Thousands were killed and many more displaced as the city, its Eastern part in particular, was destroyed. The Syrian Army walked across with remarkable ease. But how?
Aleppo, the symbolic heartland of the revolution, had been a bone in the Syrian regime’s neck for four years. It had been a stalemate between the regime and resistance groups with neither able to take full control. The resistance groups had a strong grasp on the areas they controlled. In fact, early August saw the resistance on the front foot with its tail up as it broke the regime’s siege of the city in spectacular style. Yet, in spite of all this, cum December and the regime simply walks across large parts of Aleppo as if facing no resistance? But how?
Well, this is where the hand of politics shows its force on the battlefield. Russia, Iran and Turkey cut a deal to give Aleppo to the Assad regime on a plate. Russia would devastate the city through aerial bombardment pushing into a difficult corner with little options, Iran would assist the Syrian Army move in on the ground and Turkey would make sure that significant rebel groups would withdraw from the city instead of fighting. This last aspect was the game changer, since the first two aspects were not new.
Indeed, it was the withdrawal of the rebel groups that allowed the Syrian Army to take the city with such ease after four years of being unable to do anything of the sort. The political spin we got was that Turkey had done great work by evacuating civilians after the invasion. What was hidden, because of its ugly reality, was that Turkey had evacuated rebel groups before it allowing the invasion in the first place. Erdoğan, using his political clout with the groups he had been backing, had been actively moving rebel forces out of Aleppo depleting its front line resistance.
Some people find it hard to accept that Erdoğan and the Turkish regime did this, but the evidence is conclusive. Turkey has been working hand-in-hand with Russia on the Syrian file for months now. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said in late December, while praising and justifying Russia’s intervention, “in this period, Russia and Turkey have trusted each other on strategic issues. Turkey and Russia have mutual trust in each other,”  and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said to his Russian counterpart that, “we, you and Turkey have been able in the past five days to help evacuate innocent civilians from Aleppo as well as (facilitate) the terrorist groups to leave the city.”  The “terrorist groups” being the resistance groups.
Two months earlier in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to Istanbul: “Together with the Turkish president, we agreed to do everything to support de Mistura’s [Staffan de Mistura, the top United Nations diplomat for the Syrian conflict] initiative on the withdrawal of military units, which refuse to lay down their arms, from Aleppo in order to end violence.” 
During the same visit, Erdoğan agreed to meet Russia’s demand that fighters from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS; formerly, Jahbat al-Nusra) be removed from Aleppo. Erdoğan said about this, “The necessary orders were given to our friends, and they will do what is needed.”  A few days later, the Turkish Foreign Minister re-iterated this during international talks on Syria in Lausanne, telling reporters following the meeting that JFS must withdraw from military posts in Aleppo immediately for humanitarian aid to reach the city safely. 
On the 16th of December, during the height of the Aleppo invasion, Putin referred to an earlier conversation he had with Erdoğan during the Turkish President’s visit to St. Petersburg on the 9th of August, saying: “Judging from what I see, (in Syria) things are happening in accordance with the agreements I reached with the Turkish president during his visit to St. Petersburg. We agreed that Turkey would provide every possible assistance in arranging the exit of those militants who were ready to lay down their arms…” 
Many brigades with links to Turkey were involved in the pull out of Aleppo since August. The Sultan Murad Brigade, Suqour al-Jebel, Jaysh al Tahrir, Jabhat al Shamiya, Nour al Din al Zenki, Faylaq al-Sham and Ahrar al Sham are just some Aleppo based rebel groups that had been pulled out of the city to assist with Turkish military operations in northern Syria (Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield). Thousands of fighters from these brigades had been gradually moved out since August  . Some rebel groups have, in turn, been explicit in blaming Turkey for the loss of Aleppo due to these manoeuvres which firmly tipped the scales in favour of Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran. 
Not only did Turkey clear the field for the Syrian regime and their Russian and Iranian allies, it has been providing intelligence and support for Russian operations in Syria.  Little wonder, then, that with such co-operation in play with Russia, Erdoğan’s had not even words of condemnation for what Russia and Assad did to Aleppo, as he has in the past with similar assaults in Syria.
All of this should give those who continue to support Erdoğan reason to seriously re-consider their position. Make no mistake: Erdoğan facilitated the invasion of Aleppo. This is betrayal of the highest order. It is one thing to not come to aid of the oppressed because you claim you lack the ability. That is a potentially valid claim, depending on the validity of the claim of inability. It is another thing to facilitate the oppression of the oppressed. There are no excuses for that whatsoever.
 ‘Turkey says Russia is keeping its promises on Syria’, Anadolu Agency, 25/12/16: https://goo.gl/zJcGRm
 Turkey: Aleppo evacuations could be completed by Wednesday, CNN, 20/12/2016, https://goo.gl/N1uMHG
 Warming Relations in Person, Putin and Erdoğan Revive Pipeline Deal, NYT, 10/10/2016: https://goo.gl/f5rDSH
 On Syrian border, rebel goals not all shared by Turkish backers, Reuters, 19/10/2016: https://goo.gl/3h1n0r
 Syria peace talks end in Lausanne without significant progress, Daily Sabah, 15/10/2016: https://goo.gl/4XbB1X
 Putin calls full ceasefire ‘next step’ for normalization in Syria, TASS, 16/12/2016: http://tass.com/politics/919910
 Turkish Incursion into Northern Syria Signals Turning Point in Anti-ISIS Fight, ISW, 30/08/2016: https://goo.gl/uczu6h
 After Aleppo, a chapter closes on Turkey’s ambitions in Syria, Reuters, 15/12/2016: https://goo.gl/Til6TR
 Is Turkey recruiting militants evacuated from Aleppo?, Al-Moniter, 19/12/2016: https://goo.gl/9oQUMZ
 Russia-Turkey Intelligence Sharing in Syria Signifies Major Changes in Relations, Sputnik, 26/10/2016.
The author sounds like a blinkered Saudi scholar, defending the tribal king
“Turkey that withdrew its ambassador from Syria” So whats the Turkish ambassador doing in Israel, Russia and Iran?
Erdogan is only 25miles from Aleppo, but a million excuses away from the truth.
SNC was a US plan to usurp the Islamic revolution and give leadership to a secular SNC. The brigades saw through that.
Turkey supported the US in that.
Turkey also abandoned Aleppo by shifting rebels from defending Aleppo to securing Turkish nationalist interests by fighting kurdish nationalists.
Shame on Erdogan!
The single most important factor in changing the tide of the war on the ground in Syria has been IS. They have fought the Syrian resistance groups, tortured and murdered ordinary Syrians as well as aid workers and journalists. They have allowed major world powers to concentrate their attacks and given them a pretext to enter the conflict. Compare the state of the Assad regime before IS joined the conflict and after. IS has been a blessing in disguise for Assad.
Interesting factual article no doubt .Unfortunately Turkey have been a responsible party too in bringing the war in Alleppo to a a defeat with thousands of children , father’s , sons, mothers and daughters being crushed under barrel bombs . When recently it was mentioned by Pentagon that an extreme force is required to bring down the Assad regime ?
So who is this extreme force ? I say as USA have been supporting Islamic state in the past and Turkey playing ‘Dumb¿’ Is it time Turkey supported IS too ? Maybe if they had Alleppo would have been saved . Obviously rebels with all the support of arms were DEFEEATED and Annihilated . Please check the lions fight of IS in Mosul where 5k vs 30k and usa /uk &iran& Hezbollah & Kurdistan . This reminds me of batter of Badr.
Those dogs of hellfire and Assad’s/Iran’a clear puppies that call themselves “Islamic state” are the reason Assad wasn’t completely gotten rid of in 2014. They conveniently popped up and started fighting the true rebels and killing the mujahidin of the ummah.
we love you erdogan. keep up the flag held up high for islaam!!
‘fall of the revolutionary heartland’
not fallen yet and will not do so.
we had the crusaders early on, the tataar…and now dearest bashshaar, may Allaah guide him.
He is the one who guided umar pbuh, abu jahls son, ‘ikrimah pbuh…….list endless. up to Him, whatever the result.
“Its opposition to some Kurds’ militarised aspirations to establish a state on its southern border does not mean it supports ISIS.
This claim is as shallow as saying that the rebels are allies of Hezbollah because the former is against ISIS.”
can say the same for kurds too.
That is, not all kurds are secular and averse to the mujaahideen ‘rebels’.
‘plethora of turkey bashers’
dont need them; quite the opposite.
i know you have the secular, anti islamic, anti erdogan minority, but it is minority, like in all muslim countries.
try and look at muslim population in turkey, 8th in world and see how making the rasool Allaah happy with the number, and overall action.
we make du’aa that the Almighty grants barakah in the life of our hero and makes his successor even outdo him.
Sorry I think this article is utter tosh. Visited Syria back in 2009. Seemed like a peaceful, tolerant and relatively stable country. I don’t doubt the regime has been oppressive, but then, name me one modern Muslim majoritycountry that hasn’t?
Lol thanks Rehan for your expertise gained from your visit to Syria in 2009
I’m Syrian and your comment is utter tosh mate. Idiot.
Very Islam comment at end!
Well said Rehan, nobody can name one modern Islamic state that is not oppressive. Therein lies the failure of Islam to enter the modern, democratic world.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This article is naive at best, attempting to whitewash Erdogan’s actions. Was Erdogan also forced and coerced into calling Putin, the butcher who has killed so many Muslims both in Russia & Syria, his friend? Where was this supposed fear when Turkey did shoot down a Russian jet last year? Did Russia use its tactical nukes?
Erdogan has betrayed the Muslims of Aleppo by allowing them to be slaughtered like sheep. May Allah SWT curse him and hold him to account both in this world and the hereafter.
You remind me of this sentence in the article:
“Such surface-level understanding and gullibility is what has created today’s plethora of Turkey-bashers.”
An article that you have commented under before actually having understood or even read it. You respond to 30+ references of facts and context, by just regurgitating the idiotic garbage that the people of desires have fed idiots like you. The Ummah will hold people like you personally responsible before Allāh for chatting rubbish despite your unimaginable ignorance, instead of remaining silent as you were commanded. Allāh will one day expose who you people are really working in the interests of…
There’s a lot going on.
As the events of Iran’s role in Syria plays out it is now more important to learn about this Shitte religion – once regarded a minor misguided sect in the corner, nothing-to-worry-about, harmless, uneducated non-serious cult. Turns out there is a lot more to these Shitte, whom you cannot easily spot. They are covert and very sneaky in their beliefs and don’t reveal much. We need more articles and the 12 dangers these people and their ideologies pose.
Do we see any Shitte condemn or hold “not in my name” cards against the genocide, torture, rapes, abuse happening by Shitte Iranian ‘Guard’ terrorist in Syria – like how Sunni condemn the ‘sunni’ manufactured-ISIS?
Russia has Turkey in a headlock – if Turkey had nuclear weapons it would be a different gameplay.
So the question is what is Pakistan doing, nothing notable in Syria, nor Burma and little tits for tats in Kashmir? The only Sunni-Muslim country to have nukes – I say it should donate it to Turkey.
I have read many of these anti-Turkish messages; for all we know they could be Shitte undercovers spreading propaganda and hate. They are hard to spot on the bus or high street – secretly relish the defeat of Aleppo whilst you are unable to stand straight from long night of prayers for Syria during Qiyam, If the Muslim community is smart it would support the Turkish economy and lobby government to open up trade and not let the Turkish people alone enjoy this reward of spending a bigger share of its GDP on humanitarian aid than any other.
On a positive note, they make Israel seem so much more kind and human.
I’ve been following islam21c for some time with great interest. I receive your newsletter, and although I don’t necessarily agree with all the opinions expressed in the different articles, I must say that this is one of the few serious Muslim media that provide valuable insight, perspectives and food for thought based on Islam on a variety of relevant issues. May Allah (swt) reward you for this important work.
For this reason especially, and since you have provided the opportunity here, I feel compelled to leave this comment:
With all due respect to brother Ahmed Hammuda and my brothers (and sisters perhaps) at islam21c, since this is kind of an editorial, I find this article very unfortunate, and shameful even. Here is why, and may Allah guide us to what is best and most correct:
Firstly, as it has been pointed out many times in excellent articles on this very site, we as Muslims should measure things according to our Islamic principles, laws and values in all matters, not least in political affairs, since Islam is a complete Deen and way of life.
Unfortunately, this article does not base its assessments and conclusion on any Islamic evidence, or even Islamic thinking. Rather, it cites pragmatic, so-called realist arguments and Turkish national interests and “limitations”, to place layers of cover for Erdogan’s evident betrayal of the Muslims of Syria, not least in Aleppo.
One cannot help but get the impression that there is a predefined opinion on the subject of Erdogan, which you feel obliged to defend, whether this is consciously or not…
Especially when a lack of precise understanding of the the development in Syria, and recent events, is also demonstrated.
As Muslims we cannot ignore the Islamic evidences on ruling and what rulers should be like and adopt a logic of supporting “the best of the worst” or the like…
Indeed when Allah swt says
وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُبِينًا
… Then this should end all support for a ruler who rules with man made laws in a secular republic, legalizing all kinds of haram, and who has completely normalized and friendly relations with the Zionist occupation of Palestine (not some vaguely excusable truce) and who is an ally and even a friend of the most aggressive enemies of Islam in our time, the US and Russia… no matter how he compares to the other sorry excuses for rulers in the Muslim world.
There is no doubt that the Turkish armed forces and air forces was more than capable of at the very least putting and end to the siege of Aleppo and create an important balance in favor of the legendary revolution of the people of Syria, if not completely alter the situation in Syria. Unfortunately, what the Turkish leadership has been lacking is the political will to do so and the courage to go directly against the US.
Withdrawing opposition forces with loyalty to Turkey from the Aleppo front is what enabled the regime and its militias to re-establish the siege, while Erdogan’s friend Putin brutally bombed the city to ruins, aiding the regime in destroying all hospitals in the city and massacring women and children…
Indeed, Aleppo fell when the fighting groups were pressured to surrender and realized that the Russian demands were also Turkish demands .. and now Turkey has agreed with Russia and Iran to apply/enforce the “Aleppo model” in all of Syria, delivering it to the regime, and pressuring the revolutionaries to come to the negotiations to preserve the secular political structure in Syria and “fight terrorism”, which has become the universal excuse to do all things..
Brother, no imagined “maslaha” or “benefit of the doubt” can excuse or legitimize the Turkish leadership’s complete alignment with Russia and Iran on Syria, betraying its blessed revolution…
As for the “jealousy” for Aleppo, we have seen the Muslim people of Turkey, like Muslims across the world, come out with remarkable expressions of brotherhood with the Muslims of Aleppo, unlike the actions of the Turkish government…
Of course, Erdogan, as well as any Muslim leader, should be viewed and judged according the Islamic texts and then the example of the great Islamic leaders of our history.
I kindly remind you of the Hadith of our Prophet (saaws), narrated by Ibn Umar (raa) in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad:
سَيَكُونُ بَعْدِي أُمَرَاءُ ، فَمَنْ صَدَّقَهُمْ بِكَذِبِهِمْ وَأَعَانَهُمْ عَلَى ظُلْمِهِمْ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَلَسْتُ مِنْهُ وَلا يَرِدُ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ…
“Rulers will come after me and whoever affirms their lies and supports their oppression has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him, and he will not drink with me at the fountain in Paradise.”
As I am sure you are well aware, we live in historic times of remarkable awakening and change in our Ummah, moving towards the re-emergence of Islam… In these times we should be very careful in how we help influencing the Muslim public opinion in seeing the states and rulers in our lands for what they are, and not what we wish them to be.. the mass movements and reactions of the Muslim masses in the last few years show that the public will is the strongest most irresistible force there is.
May Allah the Almighty bring about a real change and bring back the might and glory of Islam to our lands and to the benefit of the whole world.
And indeed Allah knows best.
Your brother, Sulayman Al-Murabit
Writing from Copenhagen, Denmark.
I agree with the thrust of your article. Despite being a big player and staunch advocate of freedom and democracy for the people of Syria, Ergogan found himself completely surrounded by unfriendly neighbours and betrayed by allies in the west, so had little choice but to tactically turn to Russia but as it turned out Turkey was left isolated and marginalised unable to intervene while Aleppo was systematically and savagely bombed by Assad and Russia forces.