Salim Cevik: Obstacles to a Turkey-Syria Reconciliation

Source:Arab Center Date:30Mar2023

Erdoğan hopes that by reconciling with Assad he can take away one of the opposition’s main talking points. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the joint presidential candidate of the largest opposition alliance, has for years proposed reconciliation with the Assad regime as a solution to Turkey’s refugee crisis. By establishing peace with Syria and helping to stabilize it, Kilicdaroglu has argued, he would create a political context in which Syrian refugees residing in Turkey would voluntarily return home. While this policy may sound naïve and unrealistic, especially given the Assad regime’s lack of desire for repatriation and its track record of human rights abuses against returning refugees, it resonated with the public. This policy manages to appease those holding anti-refugee sentiments, but without endorsing the Turkish far right’s demands for the forceful expulsion of all Syrians.