Süleyman Özmen, Head of International Affairs Department (Rumeli University in Istanbul) and member of the Turkish Armed Forces, stressed in an interview with uwidata.com that events in the region are precursors to a major war. He notes that”the main goal is to ignite a large-scale ethnic and religious clash.” According to Özmen, one operation will not be enough to destroy terrorism in the region, and the degree to which the Free Syrian Army (FSA) can be considered an independent force should be questioned. In his interview, he commented extensively on operation “Source of Peace” launched by the Turkish Armed Forces.

Özmen has held various positions in the Turkish Armed Forces and serves as an expert on the Middle East and national security issues at the General Staff Strategic Research Center (SAREM). He has conducted leadership and personal development courses for the Department of Educational Programs within the Turkish Army. He holds a Ph.D. in strategy from the Gebze University of Technology.

 UWI: How successful will the Turkish Armed Forces be in conducting Operation Peace Source?

What are the pros and cons of this operation for Turkey?

Turkey will succeed in Operation Source of Peace. The Turkish Army has gained considerable experience, skill, and ability in conducting cross-border military operations on Syrian territory during Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch. This will ensure a high degree of success and the achievement of all goals within a short time frame.

However, it is worth noting that the United States has been playing a dangerous game in the Middle East since the 2000s. In the 18 years since September 11, 2001, under the pretext of supporting moderate Islam, the Big Middle East Project, the Arab Spring and the so-called democratization projects (which are hardly mentioned today) have created a situation of chaos, instability and destruction, while hostile elements have been deliberately and systematically imbedded in the region. The current borders were drawn in 1916 by the British and French to divide the region into spheres of interest. Today, the United States wants to reshape the Middle East altogether.

Public Domain Pictures

The current delicate calculation by the Americans will not serve the interests of the people living in the region, much like when the territories were divided 100 years ago. The United States has created an apocalyptic situation. The imperialist Western world is far from realizing or sharing in the pain, bloodshed and tears they have created.


The war we are currently living through has been described as fourth-generation warfare. It is characterized by blurred boundaries between warfare and politics, soldiers and civilians, peace and conflict, front and rear.

This type of war carries asymmetric threats and unpredictable consequences. With this in mind, we can say the following: Turkey has been forced to face the PKK terrorist organization for 41 years now. In addition, during this long period of struggle of PKK, as a result of imperialist manipulations, the PKK has changed its positions and ideology. Even before the beginning of the war in Syria, there was a determined struggle against this separatist terrorist organization in the country and in the north of Iraq for the sake of ensuring security in the border area and stability in the country. Today, the Middle East is at an impasse because of the insidious plans of the United States.

Operation Peace Source east of the Euphrates is bound to succeed in the short term. However, this success, as in previous cases, will remain tactical, as the US’ goal is to target the people of the region with each other.


Given the instability of the current situation, it remains a mystery what awaits us in the long run. However, it is clear that the United States and other imperialist forces will benefit from the chaos. The conflicts provoked after the oil crisis of 1973, such as the ones that have been taking place within the time framework of this long period of war, are being put into place: The 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war (called the First Gulf War in the West), the 1990 Second Gulf War after the annexation of Kuwait, the 1991 civil war in Somalia, the Afghanistan war that began in late 2001, the 2003 Third Gulf War, the 2011 Syria civil war, the 2015 Yemen civil war, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and all current confrontations in the Middle East. The whole process took place according to a plan developed by the US. The Arab Spring, staged by the United States in 2010, took over Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen in broad terms, and, to a lesser extent, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco. But in any case, it laid the foundation for Gordiyev’s knot of contradictions and tensions that we see today across the Arab world.

The prototype of the protagonist of the film “Siriana”, former CIA agent Robert Booker Baer, who laid the foundations of the Iraqi Kurdistan, summarized the situation rather frankly when he said “Why should we die? Let them kill each other, and we will draw the borders again at the negotiating table.”


In addition, a mass wave of migration was provoked, which became hopeless. There is not a day in this region that goes by without the suffering of innocent people. It is naive and unrealistic to wait for help from the other side of the Atlantic, especially when they consciously created the problem in the first place. The United States, while keeping a safe distance, will be pleased to see these misguided and misled people destroy each other with weapons purchased from Washington. The only way to overcome this situation is through the enlightenment of all these systematically deceived and oppressed peoples, through their unification around visionary, wise leaders and the cooperation of all Middle Eastern peoples (following the example of such projects as the Saadabad Pact and the Balkan Entente, which was initiated by Ataturk).

In Iraq, the people want secular power. People say that they need a leader like Ataturk to turn Iraq into a secular state. The only way to defeat the US’ plans is through the ideology of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a figure who the imperialist forces are desperately trying to get the people to forget or reject. We have to learn about and teach about Ataturk’s legacy.


In our region, a large-scale war on ethnic and religious grounds is taking place which is exactly what certain forces have been trying to achieve. In addition, all the signs indicate that the biggest war may soon begin in the region. Syria has been divided into 8 parts “on the ground”. We have been supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) because it includes ethnic Turkmens… however, let us not forget how the FSA was created. Along with the United States and the coalition Arab and the Gulf States, we have been involved in the creation of the FSA as part of the “training and equipping” project. We need to be skeptical about the degree of “freedom and independence” of the FSA and other groups.

1517-1917 (Calm and stability, Turkish peace)/1917-2019 (Blood and tears, rule of the Western world)

In 1917, after 400 years of peace and tranquillity, the Turks were forced to leave the region, after which the Middle East, which had been left under the mandate of the British and French under the pretext of a supposedly free Arab union, did not enjoy peace and stability. The Jewish population, which at the time of the Turks’ withdrawal from the territory did not exceed 6% of the total population, has now reached 80%, in violation of all international law

The Arab peoples, believing that they would be able to create a Free Arab Union, preferred the Christian English “caliphate” to the Turkish Islamic caliphate, and the so-called Palestinian state was established only in 1988 in territories where the people are doomed to live in without any recognition of their rights and freedoms. From 1917 to 1948, when the state of Israel was formed, various Zionist organizations were established with the help of the British, as a result of which the Palestinians were faced with terrorism, slaughter and violence.

Zionist organizations occupied as many territories as they could at the time of Israel’s establishment and continue to do so.

So-called Greater Kurdistan is being created in the same way. The PKK, by violently forcing Arabs and Turkmens to migrate, is carrying out ethnic cleansing in the territories under its control. History is ruthless with those who do not learn from it. A plan developed by the British 100 years ago is being implemented by the United States today. In 2006, the US published a map and an article that concluded with a discussion of which countries would win and which would lose in the region.

The list of losers includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine and Turkey.

UWI: Is the US really leaving Syria? Or will we face more of Trump’s inconsistencies?

Attention should be paid to some conflicting statements Trump made on a single day (October 8). 

“If Turkey does something that I see as trespassing on the borders, I will destroy and destroy the Turkish economy (as I have done before). Turkey, along with Europe and other countries, should keep track of the members of ISIS and their families caught. The US, in particular by detaining 100 percent of ISIS members, has done much more than expected. Now is the time for other players in the region to protect their lands.”

There has likely never been such a strange period in history from a diplomatic and political point of view.

The US Greater Middle East project appears to have achieved its goal. This is a necessary argument for maintaining the imperialist system and capitalism. The world is unfortunately unfair and inhumane. If you don’t have the strength and power, if your predictions for the future are short-sighted, you can be sure that no one will show mercy or extend a hand of support to you. International diplomacy, which seems to be a complex and confusing system, is, in fact, nothing more than a modern version of the law of the jungle. Whoever has the power has an impact on history and geography.

UWI: Is it possible for Turkey to withdraw from NATO? Under what conditions would it be possible? Will there be positive consequences for regional and global players? Whose interests does Ankara’s withdrawal from NATO serve?

Turkey’s withdrawal from NATO is possible. However, it is extremely important to analyze what the positive and negative consequences of this step would be for us in the long run.

Since the end of the 2000s, Turkey has been systematically trying to distance itself from the West through various manipulations.

Refusal to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest and blocking access to Wikipedia and Booking services are only the most obvious signs of this process. Experts after a thorough analysis of all the signs can draw a conclusion on this or that issue; unfortunately, we are not analyzing the signs with sufficient depth.

More people are presenting themselves as experts in the field of strategy who are preventing our citizens from obtaining reliable information from alternative sources. The country is deliberately creating an environment of information “noise” and chaos. TV stations, radio broadcasts and print media often use the rhetoric that people want to hear rather than what is actually true– some think that this is another professionally staged US mass media operation to influence public opinion.

The price of Turkey’s joining NATO on February 18, 1952, was 741 dead and over 2 thousand disabled soldiers. 

The issue of withdrawal from NATO, which is so often touched upon today, is, in fact, a serious strategic decision related to the future of the country. 

After each global economic crisis that the world has had to face after the industrial revolution, a world war broke out, resulting in the death of millions of people. The crisis of 1896 provoked the First World War, the crisis of 1929 – the Second World War. 

As we know, our attempts to create an alliance with Great Britain at the beginning of the First World War did not bring any results, and therefore we had to conclude an alliance with Germany. At the end of the war, the Turkish people suffered the greatest territorial and human losses. 

I believe that a global political cartel which holds extraordinary power already knows what the outcome of these great wars will be in advance.

Let us now turn to the present: in 2008, the capitalist system has survived a third global crisis, the consequences of which have not yet been overcome. 

On 6 June 2019, the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy, which changed the destiny of Europe, was celebrated magnificently. 

Two days before the celebrations, the United States signed a trade agreement with the United Kingdom, and the day after the event, a similar agreement was signed with France. Based on personal experience, I can assume that the US signed much more than a trade agreement. Immediately after that, France, which is one of the countries with increasing extreme right sentiment, following Great Britain’s example, announced the possibility of leaving the EU and holding a referendum. 

Later, on June 25, 2019, the US administration published the details of the “Deal of the Century” plan, which was supposedly going to settle the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Many experts called this agreement “a new Sykes-Picot agreement”.

100 years ago Great Britain… 100 years later, the US

Would Britain have allied with the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago, a political formation which it wanted to dismember and turn into its colony during the First World War? 

Does the US want Turkey, which it likely hopes to dismember, subdue and destroy in World War III, to be a NATO member?

I think this is the main question for us today. 


In short, the signs are not limited to Syria and territories east of the Euphrates. In fact, this is only a small detail of a much larger picture. 

It is well known that the crisis that took place around Turkey’s purchases of the S-400 air defense complexes has its own background. Due to the refusal of the US to supply Patriot missile defense complexes to Turkey, Ankara decided to buy air defense systems from Russia. 

This interaction between Turkey, which is one of the main strategic members of NATO, with Russia (an eternal enemy of the Alliance), has caused serious concerns about the possible undermining of the alliance’s general security systems. 

This concern is reinforced by the fact that the S-400 complexes cannot be integrated into the existing NATO defense and radar system. The Pentagon issued a statement in which it announced that preparations for the deployment of F-35 fighters in Turkey have been suspended and the necessary equipment will not be sent to Ankara until the S-400 deal is canceled. 

In response, Sergey Chemezov, Chief Executive Officer at Rostec State Corp, said that if Ankara is interested, Russia could deliver Su-35 fighters as well. “We are ready to put Su-35 on the agenda for discussion in case of a corresponding request from our Turkish colleagues,” Chemezov said. 

We will insist on the suspension of Turkey’s membership in NATO

US Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, known for his support for President Trump’s policies, tweeted about his meeting with Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, during which it was agreed that Congress would impose sanctions on Turkey and call for the suspension of Turkey’s membership in NATO should Ankara launch an operation in northeastern Syria. 

As we can see, all events point to a major new war in the Middle East, God forbid. However, just as we were forced to ally with Germany during the First World War, Turkey is currently being pushed toward Russia. I believe that this process is developing with the full understanding, knowledge and control of the US and Russia. 

In addition, I believe that Russia, through the Syrian crisis, has managed to realize its long-held dream of sailing to warmer seas. 

I would also like to get an answer from an official to the following question: why, while decisions are being made all over the world to close down nuclear power plants due to the problem of outdated technologies used in their operation, is Turkey allowing Russia to build the Akkuyu nuclear power plant? 

Why is it that in conditions of the constantly worsening global climate change, when the use of nuclear technologies is being phased out everywhere, are NPPs and Russia being chosen as the executor of this project?

Nurettin Kurt
Journalist, specialist in criminology, recipient of the EU Prize for Journalism and Turkish Journalists' Association’s press freedom award , and the author of “Journalist-wolf in the stressful triangle - Incident-police proceedings-lawsuit”,  Sedat Simavi Journalism Award - 2007 (Turkey) 32 yıllık gazeteci, polis ve adliye uzmanı, Sedat Simavi Gazetecilik Ödülü başta olmak üzere, 2011 ve 2017 TGC Başarı ödülü, Avrupa Birliği Araştırmacı Gazetecilik Ödülü, iki kez Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği haber ödülü, yedi kez Barış Selçuk Gazetecilik Ödülü ile birlikte çeşitli Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları tarafından ödüle layık görülmüştür, ‘Olay-Polis-Adliye- Gerilim Üçgeninde Kurt Gazeteci’ isimli kitabın yazarıdır

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September 2023