Abstract. The article analyses Turkey’s policy towards the Syrian crisis. The author presents an overview of doctrinal principles of the Turkish foreign policy as a basis for its objectives and motivation. The “zero problems with neighbours” concept that had been integral to Ankara’s Middle Eastern policies in general was proven irrelevant amid the Arab Spring. In fact, Ankara strived to use the Arab revolutions to its own advantage by promoting Turkey’s modernization pattern and gaining clout in the whole region. This course seems to have shaped the informal doctrine of “neo- Ottomanism”, which glorifies the Ottoman imperial power and expansionism towards the nations that comprised the former empire. In addition, one of the main factors in Ankara’s policy in Syria is its aspiration to prevent a Kurdish autonomy there. Kurds were the major target of Ankara’s three illegal military operations (“Euphrates Shield”, “Olive Branch” and “Peace Spring”) on the Syrian soil, with the aim of pushing them away from the Turkish boundaries. Turkey’s aggressive policy towards the Syrian Kurds appears to be the clearest manifestation of “neo-Ottomanism”. Apart from that, the article considers Turkey’s balancing act between the US and Russia as part of its foreign policy in Syria. Following the “Euphrates Shield”, there was a rapprochement between Turkey and Russia when the former joined the Astana negotiations. Cooperation with Russia has become a consistent trend in Erdogan’s foreign policy in Syria, especially in Idlib. It has proven beneficial to Ankara with regard to achieving its policy goals in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Keywords: Turkey, Syria, Russia, “zero problems with neighbours”, “neo-Ottomanism”, Kurds, “Euphrates Shield”, “Olive Branch”, “Peace Spring”, Idlib
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