Skip to main content

Erdogan looks for military victory to avenge electoral defeat

Some observers believe that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to force Turkey into a confrontation with Syria before a coalition government is formed.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) leaves after a wreath-laying ceremony with members of the Supreme Military Council at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, in Ankara November 30, 2012. Erdogan will chair the twice-yearly meeting of the Supreme Military Council at army headquarters. REUTERS/Stringer (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR3B1R8

Newspapers are overflowing with scenarios that send Turkey into Syria after the expulsion of the Islamic State (IS) from Tell Abyad by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). A flurry of speculation about operational plans followed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declaration that Turkey will never allow establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Syria. According to a report by government mouthpiece daily Yeni Safak, 18,000 Turkish soldiers are to enter Syria through the Karkamis and Oncupinar crossings and set up a buffer zone 28-33 kilometers (17-20 miles) deep and 110 kilometers (68 miles) long.

Yeni Safak’s veteran columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, reputed to be well-plugged-in to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), shared details of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) operational planning: If the buffer zone is 5 kilometers (3 miles) deep, it will need two brigades, or four brigades if it is 10-15 kilometers (6 to 9 miles) deep. Soldiers will not line up in a single file along the 110-kilometer (68-mile)-long border. Company or battalion size units will be deployed on dominating land features. These units will have observation capacity as well as firepower. Howitzers with a 40-kilometer (25-mile) range will be deployed inside Syria and provide security for the buffer zone.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.