A new hope in Syria
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We knew that 2017 would not mark the end of conflicts, massacres and terrorism. But no one had predicted that our country would face a terrible massacre merely an hour after entering the New Year. The planned and organized nightclub attack in Istanbul suddenly shocked a huge nation that was giving each other best wishes.

The people of Turkey are a society familiar with terror. They experienced terrorist acts of all kinds carried out by right and left fractions. For this reason, the Turkish society has acquired a profound understanding of what terrorism wants. Terrorism wants angry souls, defeated communities, and sorrowful masses who have given up all hope. Terrorism triumphs when it pits societies, religions, masses, ethnic groups against each other; when it spreads fear among people and impair their quality of life. Until now, societies who fail to grasp the purpose of terrorism has always given terror what it wants and succumbed to it.


Not succumbing to terrorism and not giving it what it wants is surely in our hands. But we have the power to do more than that. It is possible to cut the lifeblood of terrorism, and this can certainly be accomplished through alliance.

Syria negotiations are a significant step taken in this regard.

Without doubt, the situation in Syria is one of the main reasons why terrorism has gained a wide foothold not only in Iraq and Syria, but in Turkey as well. Terrorism finds itself both a foothold and weapons in volatile regions with ongoing intense conflicts. Terrorist groups may become a trump card for global powers facing off against each other for one reason or another. It is tragic that history has witnessed countless times the existence of terrorist organizations nurtured with weapons in the name of global struggles.

The Moscow summit that was held at the end of December and the resulting ceasefire declared in Syria is very meaningful in many respects. We have mentioned many times that the countries of the region should come together to ensure ceasefire in Syria. As a matter of fact, Russia, Iran and Turkey taking this decision at the negotiation table, Russia and Turkey acting as the "guarantors" of the process rather than its parties, and the Syrian regime's direct mention of a ceasefire are significant developments that have failed to be achieved until now. Besides the ceasefire, the three countries have also agreed on the preservation of Syria's territorial integrity. This is a topic that is of particular concern to all three countries that held the Moscow summit.

UNSC's approval of the Syrian ceasefire has also substantiated the fact that the UN consents to the process. This is especially important for Turkey. Because, Turkey wants the presence of the UN as a facilitator during the talks expected to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, following the ceasefire. Moreover, the support of the UN means that the United States representing NATO, which includes Turkey, is also indirectly involved in the process.

The mutual guarantee of Russia and Turkey is currently an important assurance that renders sustaining the ceasefire possible. As this process proceeds, the negotiations to be held in Astana will confront regime forces and the opposition groups. In these negotiations, preparation of the preliminary draft for the transitional government, which has been in plan for a long time, will also be considered. Now, this plan is established on a more realistic ground than ever. Because, the decisions have been put on the table by the three countries of the region that have direct influence over Syria.

The likely positive outcome of the Astana talks will be presented as a final decision on Syrian negotiations in Geneva, in February, this time scheduled to take place under the auspices of the UN. This final decision will greatly facilitate the Geneva talks and allow for the establishment of a transitional government.

The fact that USA will take part in the said process as a supporter is of vital importance. Having been working since the beginning of the Geneva talks to establish a peaceful atmosphere in the region, the US will obviously not turn its back to this progress that has been made because of the recent tensions with Russia. But in this regard, the attitude of the new government of the United States, which will take office at the end of January, will be important and decisive. Obama's stern and accusing attitude toward Russia, the distance he has kept with Israel and the unpleasant situation with Turkey due to the arms support to the YPG in Syria have caused huge raptures in the Middle East policies of the US. Albeit it will not have an impact on the friendly relations, it is defined as "confidence-shaking" in the eyes of the Turkish public.

For all these reasons, the Middle East has great expectations from the new president Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE. We hope that Trump will consider that the US-Russian crisis poses great risks not only for the two countries but also for the atmosphere of peace in Syria. From the point of Turkey, Trump will hopefully take into consideration the fact that the terrorist incidents Turkish people faced have largely been perpetrated by the PKK. As we would always point out, the PKK in our lands is the PYD/YPG in Syria. The weapons acquired by the YPG are now pointed at innocent Turkish people in Turkish metropolises. Trump has already stated that he is a great fan of Kurds, which is praiseworthy. Our Kurdish brothers and sisters hold a significant place in our hearts as well. If Donald Trump genuinely sympathizes with Kurds, then he should remember that the Stalinist terrorist organization PKK primarily targets Kurds. Coming from a socialist background, Obama's support of the YPG might come as no surprise. But it is our greatest expectation that the new representative of the American people, who have been historically known for their anti-communist identities, does not repeat the same mistake.

The actual antidote of terrorism lies in the elimination of the mentality that fosters terror though scientific methods. If countries really wish for peace, they should cast their disagreements aside and initiate a scientific endeavor against terrorism. The ceasefire in Syria should be regarded as the first step of these measures to be taken. And this effort should absolutely be made "together". Terrorism can only be prevented from achieving what it wants through spirit of unity and alliance. Compromise and genuine friendships are what the world currently needs to put an end to disputes.

Harun Yahya is a Turkish author of the bestseller “Islam Denounces Terrorism.”

The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.