There is a lot to read between the lines on Turkey's low key policy shift after the failed coup d'etat in July 2016. But the cache of fanciful optimism is enormous suggesting Turkey's misgiving about U.S. involvement in the coup, a feeling of betrayal and consequently the Turkish leader moving towards the Russia/Iran alliance and also looking to improve relations with Egypt. The portrayal gets weirder assuming that the lengthy war in Syria has left Turkey dog-tired and on the verge of economic ruin with the transformation of Tayyip Erdogan from miscreant to not too bad a guy. Unfortunately this depiction doesn't exist outside the pages of wishful ink slingers.
With barrels of smuggled Syrian oil, loads of stolen Syrian heritage and mass pillage of costly industrial equipment from Aleppo by AKP sponsored bootleggers since 2012, Turkey's first family and their cronies have gotten wealthier than ever running lucrative businesses and maritime enterprises. The Syrian war has had no economic impact. Turkey was never burdened with any financial responsibilities for it. Turkey never needed to spend a single lira from its government coffers to sustain this war. Money and arms have been flowing in abundance through other sources .. everyone knows where. Turkey's role (mutually agreed with allies) was to play the treacherous crook, to provide safe haven to international terrorists on its soil and to keep its common borders with Syria wide open. That task continues to be performed by Turkey until the present. Weakening of Turkey's economy ensues from record corruption within the AKP circles. Fortunately for the Turkish government, the pent-up Salafist zeal (instilled over the past years) has helped to retain the appetite for war against Syria in majority of the Turks.
Yes, Tayyip Erdogan has drifted closer to Russia as a gesture of gratitude to Vladimir Putin for the hot-tip on the impending putsch. He is less critical of Russian military operations inside Syria assisting government forces. That's as far as the policy-shift goes.
Mr.Erdogan's plans on fragmenting Syria are unchanged. Contrary to all claims, he hasn't worked on any common political cause with Iran other than the usual trade deals. He can barely stand Hezbollah, an indispensable ally of Syria and Iran. There is no reason to presume he isn't hoping to gang up with the new U.S. administration as he did with the previous one. He continues to be at loggerheads with post-Morsi Egypt and hasn't taken a single reconciliatory step yet .. to the extent that Egypt has offered political asylum to Fethullah Gulen from Erdogan's ceaseless harassment, should the former be compelled to leave the U.S. over extradition demands from Turkey. Morsi supporters (the Salafist 'brotherhooders') who have been a serious nuisance for Egypt are among the top supporters of Tayyip Erdogan. Thousands of them had converged in Istanbul with AKP supporters within 48 hours of the failed coup.
Surviving the coup with the help of Putin's unwise generosity has made a still larger monster out of Tayyip. Russia and Turkey negotiated the evacuation of captured terrorists from east Aleppo because Turkey wouldn't talk to Syria, not even to Iran. For Turkey, it was an issue for the protection of a large number of AlQaeda fighters and Tayyip was hellbent to ensure their safety.
Agreement on a "nationwide ceasefire" by Turkey, Russia and Iran has little or no significance in a lawless, terrorist-infested Syria with no unanimity. Obviously the U.S. isn't bothered about its exclusion from this agreement. As expected, violations of the ceasefire were reported hours after its implementation including a series of explosions in Tartous on new year's day. The facts were succinctly summed up by President Assad during his December 30th interview with TG5 that "you cannot talk about the war being over until you get rid of the terrorists in Syria and those terrorists unfortunately still have formal support from many countries including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and many Western countries." The funny thing that all negotiations include Turkey but exclude Syria concerning a war that's on Syrian soil is enough to indicate Turkey's die hard, no-change stratagem, except for a few adroit but irrelevant window-dressings to provide writers with some food for thought.
Occupation of Jarablus was passed on from Daesh to Turkey on August 2016 through mutual consent. The fracas between Turkey and Daesh in Al-Bab is a localized one with political benefits for Turkey and the confrontation is likely to be temporary before they hammer out another deal as in Jarablus. Reports from Syria suggest that if Turkish forces of 'Euphrates Shield Operation' reach the gates of al-Bab, ISIL terrorists will withdraw without any resistance. Syrian Army and Kurdish fighters had formed a coalition in October 2016 to kick out both Turkey and Daesh from Al-Bab but the operation had to postponed to help other SAA units in Aleppo. The Turkish government is reportedly on fine terms with Daesh in Raqqa and also in a favorable position to hinder any future SAA operations against them by establishing a Turkish front in Al-Bab and Jarablus. On December 29, South Front reported that Russian air force was helping Turkish forces in Al-Bab against Daesh. We know for sure that Turkey isn't taking Al-Bab from Daesh to return it to Assad. Turkey wants it for Nusra, Jaysh and Ahrar. Thus the question: What's Russia's long-term purpose? Is it only to clear Syria of Daesh? That won't be enough to keep Syria intact. But as a friend of Erdogan, would Putin be interested in eliminating all terrorists from Syria? Another disconcerting query: If SAA and the Kurdish fighters regroup to carry out the deferred offensive in Al-Bab to throw out the Turks and Daesh (which is very probable), will Russia join them to combat Daesh? The storyline is immeasurably intricate.
Long-drawn-out wars can drive the human mind to adorn the ugliest of settings. Not just the dummies but also many seasoned analysts seem too sanguine, regurgitating heart-warming platitudes on Turkey as a strange but improved bedfellow carving its way into the Russian-Iranian partnership. Memories are short-lived, however. Just a few months ago while he was pretending to bomb Daesh, the Turkish leader blasted an opposition MP as a "traitor" because he told RT the truth about Daesh using chemical weapons. There are at least a hundred splinter groups of the AlQaeda chain presently residing and working inside Syria. Sudden periodical "air strikes" on isolated Daesh positions by Turkish forces has absolutely no bearing on Turkey's commitment to its wider political ideology of a permanent alliance with the so-called jihadi network which is a complex maze beyond just Daesh. That wider political ideology also includes Turkey's alliance with rogue Wahabi and Western states.
With due respect to well meaning authors, please stop building castles in the air.