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Domestic politics, Idlib sway timing of Turkey’s Syrian operation

Erdogan’s latest campaign in Syria may be justified as an effort to fight terrorism, but his immediate objectives include stopping the unraveling within his party, fracturing the opposition bloc and creating space inside Syria for a possible new wave of refugees from Idlib.
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Urgent necessities of a domestic nature have determined the timing of Operation Peace Spring that Turkey launched Oct. 9 along the Syrian border east of the Euphrates against the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has been building a self-rule in the region thanks to US protection and military support.

For Ankara, the strengthening presence of the PYD — the Syrian extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, including the United States — is seen as a general ground justifying the argument of fighting terrorism. However, this falls short of explaining why the operation came in the wake of the local elections earlier this year in which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered major losses. The economic crisis bruising Turkey proved a major factor in the party’s debacles in big cities in the March 31 polls and the June 23 rerun of the mayoral vote in Istanbul, giving impetus to rupture trends within the AKP.

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