As a result of the assassination of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov (19.12.2016) in the capital of Turkey, Russian-Turkish normalization process gained momentum even if it was the most distressing fact for Russo-Turk relationships. The first concrete step of that momentum was seen on the most substantial regional problem in the capital of Kazakhstan last week The Astana Meeting have gathered not only Syrian political and military oppositions but the USA and the UN were also represented during the meeting. That was the biggest meeting which met all parts of oppositions after ineffective Geneva Meetings in recent years. . The place is a symbol since Kazakh President N. Nazarbaev had a peacekeeper role for some crises especially in the resolving Russian-Turkish crises in 2016.
The process began with the ceasefire which was agreed by Russia, Turkey and Iran on 30 December, 2016. According to the ceasefire, Russia and Turkey and Russia are guarantor states and the groups in Syria which are determined as terrorist groups by the UN are except of the ceasefire agreement. In this regard, the meeting continued during two days on 23-24 January and it had an importance with regard to the continuity of the ceasefire and to determine other solving steps of the crises. Moreover, the last development of the ceasefire is to establish control mechanism of it between Russia, Turkey and Iran. By this way, they have aimed to keep the process and prevent provocations. It can be as a valuable mechanism to control.
During the meeting, behaviours of the groups, it can be divided as the regime and others generally focused on to blame for each other. However, the main attitude of them was to stop armed attacks and they were intended to start for concrete steps. In that point, we can look the results of the talks and general framework of political atmosphere.
First of all, the process will continue as the Geneva Meetings in the end of February. As a result of the meeting, it was planned to take place on 8 February; after that S. Lavrov informed that it will gather in the last week of February. Although there is no an official reason for delaying, it can be understood that they need times to organize it or it was delayed due to the Munich Security Conference which will be taken place on 17-18 February.
As it was planned, some important actors as Saudi Arabia and Qatar will attend to the Geneva with the UN observation. Secondly, the most significant point of the meeting was about the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria. They have became a part of the crises as Kurdish opposition’s party. They captured the majority part of northern Syria during conflicts. Turkey did not want to see them as a opposition group at meeting because it determines them as a terrorist group which supports PKK for terrorist actions in Turkey. Moreover, PYD is controlling about 700 km of Turkey-Syria border, the total is about 911 km. As a result, PYD was not invited to the meeting, it can be seen as a political success for Turkey; however, they met with Russian minister of foreign affairs and other opposition representatives in Moscow after Astana Meeting on .
As a result of meeting, there is a constitution draft that were written by Russia. According to claims, it was distributed during the meeting to all groups and it consisted with 27 constitutional articles. There is not any official statement about content of it, however, changed name of the regime- Republic of Syria, instead of Syrian Arab Republic-, the new federative construction are the most significant claimed issues of the draft. After the meeting, general atmosphere does not include any despairs. Even if there are some negative interpretations as ‘the process is fragile’, ‘there is no a strong association between Russia, Turkey and Iran’, the Astana process is a first promised step of resolving of Syria crises. It created a positive atmosphere for moving the talks to the Geneva.
To sum up, the Astana Talks is a new page of Syria crises. It can be described as a regional process instead of global. If the Geneva Meetings are taken place without any disagreements, it can be moved to global area with contributing of the new president’s Syrian policy of the US, D. Trump. Ali Emre Sucu/kafkassam