Turkish political writer and commentator M Behzad Fatmi (Photo Credits: Twitter)
Turkish political writer and commentator M Behzad Fatmi (Photo Credits: Twitter)

Erdogan's offensive in Syria was designed to divert attention from domestic issues: Expert

By Prateek Chakraborty | Updated: Dec 20, 2019 18:43 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 20 (ANI): Describing the military offensive launched by Turkey as an attempt to divert public attention after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party suffered a setback in this year's municipal elections, M Behzad Fatmi, a Turkish political writer and commentator, has said that the operation helped the government to silence rising voices of the opposition parties in the country.
In an e-mail interview to ANI on Friday, Fatmi said that prominent Justice and Development (AKP) leaders like Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoglu, who were once Erdogan allies, decided to break away from the party and form their own parties to challenge the Erdogan regime.
Fatmi explained how prior to the military offensive, Erdogan's hold over Turkey's politics had dwindled significantly, as was evident from the ruling party's loss in major cities including in Istanbul -- a city where Erdogan had served as a Mayor in the 1990s prior to occupying the top post of the country and had described the seat as the key to winning Turkish elections.
"Launching an offensive in Syria helped the Erdogan regime to silence rising opposition voices in the country. The ruling AKP party had just lost major cities like Istanbul and Ankara in the municipal elections, giving the opposition parties a reason to be assertive for the first time since the AKP had come to power more than fifteen years ago. With his immense popularity among both the conservative and liberal voters, the new Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was presenting an unprecedented challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan," he said.
"Moreover, prominent faces from within the AKP party like Abdullah Gul, Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoglu were preparing to form parties of their own to challenge the ruling party. This offensive effectively diverted public attention from all these debates and development," he added.
"The AKP's hold over Turkey's politics has certainly reduced significantly. In a poll conducted before the municipal elections, it was found that the AKP's vote share had come down to 36 per cent. In the words of Erdogan himself -- 'those who win Istanbul, win Turkey', which also means that who lose Istanbul, lose Turkey," Fatmi said.
On October 9, Turkey had launched its unilateral military operation in north-east Syria to remove Kurdish-led forces from the border area. The move came days after the US announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region, leaving the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), without American military support.
Several countries, including India, had condemned Turkey's operation in Syria, a war-ravaged country. New Delhi said that Ankara's actions can undermine "stability in the region" and has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress. (ANI)