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Suriye Bataklığının Türkiye'ye Artan Maliyeti
Suriye Bataklığının Türkiye'ye Artan Maliyeti
Yemen: Giving Peace a Chance?
Yemen: Giving Peace a Chance?
Report 230 / Europe & Central Asia

Suriye Bataklığının Türkiye'ye Artan Maliyeti

Yönetici Özeti

Komşusu Türkiye’nin kapısına üç yıl önce dayanan Suriye krizinin insani, siyasi ve güvenlik maliyetleri artmaya devam ediyor. En az 720.000 Suriyeli mültecinin, ölen 75’ten fazla Türk vatandaşının ve harcanan yaklaşık 3 milyar doların ardından, hayal kırıklığı ve bitkinlik etkisini iyice hissettirmeye başladı. Türkiye’nin insani yardımları ahlaken doğru  ve uluslararası ilkelere uyuyor, ancak özünde halen bir acil durum tepkisi olarak devam etmekte. Her gün yenileri gelen Suriyelilerin bakımını üstlenebilmesi için Ankara’nın uluslararası toplumla birlikte sürdürülebilir ve uzun vadeli bir anlaşmaya varması gerekiyor. Mezhep kaynaklı ve askeri çatışmaların en kötüleri kendi ülkelerine sıçramasa da Türkler, özellikle kuzey Suriye güvenilmez, sahipsiz bir bölgeye dönüşmüşken, kendi topraklarında bomba yüklü araçların ve diğer silahlı olayların yol açtığı güvenlik risklerinin farkındalar. İhtilafın başlamasında rolü olmasa da Ankara fiilen bir aktör haline geldi. Tek başına gerçek bir değişime yol açamayacağından, Türkiye kendi sınırlarını ve vatandaşlarını korumaya odaklanmalı, hükümetin Sünni Müslüman yönelimli dış politikasından uzaklaşma çabalarını canlandırarak mezhepsel açısından daha tarafsız bir dış politikaya yönelmeli ve Suriye’de uzlaşmaya dayalı siyasi bir çözümü açıkça desteklemeli.

Türkiye, Suriye’den kaçan mültecilerin güvenli topraklara ulaşabilmesini ve yasal bir çerçeve içinde uluslararası korumaya kavuşmasını sağlamalı; ancak bunun maliyetini tek başına karşılamak zorunda olmamalı. Türkler, Suriyelileri uluslararası toplum adına kabul etti ve uluslararası camianın da artan külfeti paylaşmada sorumluluğu bulunuyor. Sığınma merkezleri inşa etmenin ve bakımlarını sağlamanın yüksek maliyeti, yeni gelenlerin çoğunun kampların dışında kalmaları anlamına geliyor. Kentlerde bu durumda bulunan Suriyelilerin resmi sayısı 500.000 olarak veriliyor; ancak gerçek rakam, bunun iki katı olabilir. Mülteci akını, yerel altyapı üzerinde baskıya yol açıyor ve toplumsal gerilimler yaratıyor. Kaynaklar ve sabır azaldıkça ve güvenlik sorunları arttıkça Türkiye’nin açık kapı politikası da limitlerine yaklaşıyor. Sınır kontrolleri sıkılaştırılmış olsa da Suriyeliler, çoğu zaman yasadışı yollardan, ülkeye girmeye devam ediyorlar.

Ankara’nın Suriyelilere yönelik kapsamlı bir yerleşim stratejisine ihtiyacı var. Bunun aynı zamanda onlara bir işte çalışmak, sosyal hizmetlere erişmek, dil öğrenmek ve eğitim aracılığıyla Türk toplumuna entegre olma seçeneğini de sunması gerekiyor. Bu, öncelikle Nisan 2013 tarihli yabancılar ve uluslararası koruma yasasını genişletecek daha kapsamlı bir yasal çerçeveyi gerektiriyor. Donörler, Suriyeliler için üzerinde Türkiye ile karşılıklı olarak uzlaşacakları barınma planlarına finansman sağlayarak ve uzman bilgisini paylaşarak lojistik ve mali açılardan yardım sağlayabilirler.

2012 yılından bu yana Türkiye, kuzey Suriye için temel yaşam hattı olageldi. Pek çok ülke ile uluslararası ve yerel örgüt, insani yardım açısından fiili bir güvenli bölge üzerinden en azından 100.000 Suriyeliye yardım götürüyor. Türkiye insani yardım iletmek için uluslararası örgütlerle elinden geldiği kadar işbirliği yapmaya devam etmeli. Ankara açısından Suriye içinde yerinden edilmişlerle ilgilenmek, yeni sığınmacı akınlarının önüne geçiyor. Ancak öngörülebilir gelecekte ihtiyaçları geçici kamplarda karşılamaya yönelik bu planlar, gitgide istikrarsızlaşan bir ortamda hem Suriyelileri hem de yardım çalışanlarını bekleyen tehlikeleri görmezden geliyor. Kriz Grubu’nun 2013’te önerdiği üzere, en iyi seçenek, savaşın harap ettiği ülkelerini terk etmek isteyen tüm sivillerin Suriye’den ayrılmalarını sağlamak olacaktır.

Türkiye, Suriye’nin diğer komşularına göre daha büyük, daha güçlü ve daha zengin olabilir; ancak sınırlarını mültecilere açık tutmaya devam etmesi için yine de desteklendiğini hissetmesi gerekiyor. Geçtiğimiz bir buçuk yıl içinde Ankara, uluslararası yardıma kapılarını açtı ve bu kriz üzerinde çalışmaları için daha fazla insani yardım amaçlı sivil toplum örgütünü kayda geçirdi. Ne var ki yabancılara karşı süregelen korku ve bürokratik engeller, mevcut uluslararası kaynaklardan tam olarak faydalanmasını hâlâ engelliyor. Üçüncü taraflar, krizde Türkiye’nin şimdiye dek yaptığı harcamanın sadece onda biri kadar katkıda bulundular. Donörler artık, Ankara’nın dış yardımı ilk başta reddetmiş olmasının veya durumu Ürdün veya Lübnan’dan daha iyi idare etmesinin arkasına saklanmamalılar.

Türkiye, içeride mezhepsel huzursuzluğu başarılı şekilde önlemiş olsa da Suriye politikası, Alevi ve Kürt nüfusu dahil olmak üzere iç siyasette rağbet görmüyor. Batılıların müdahale sözünü tutmamış olması nedeniyle ihanete uğradığını hisseden iktidardaki Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), geçtiğimiz yıl dış politikasında ayar düzeltmesi yaptı. Yeni söyleminde Suriye’den kaynaklanan ve gittikçe genişleyen güvenlik tehditleri listesinde rejim ve onun yöneticilerinin yanı sıra silahlı muhalefetin cihatçı unsurlarına da yer verdi. Türkiye’deki Kürdistan İşçi Partisi (PKK) ile ilişkilendirdiği Suriyeli Kürtlerin Demokratik Birlik Partisi (PYD) ile temasta bulunmayı kesinlikle reddetme politikasını 2013’te tersine çevirdi ve Mart 2014’te Suriye’nin nihayet BM’nin insani yardımı için geçiş noktası açması üzerine BM’nin yardım konvoylarının PYD denetimindeki topraklarına girmesine izin verdi. Büyük resme bakıldığında Türkiye, uzun sürecek askeri müdahalelerden kaçınmak istiyor; ancak şiddetli sınır çatışmaları ve rejimle zaman zaman havada yaşanan gerginlikler, ihtilafın tırmanma riskini arttırıyor. Tüm bunlara rağmen Türkiye’nin geniş kapsamlı bir askeri müdahaleye girişmesi, en azından arkasında uluslararası bir görev ve destek olmadan, muhtemel görünmüyor.

AKP liderliğinin Suriye Devlet Başkanı Beşar Esad’ın makamından ayrıldığını görme konusundaki kararlılığı ve Suriye’deki anaakım muhalefete verdiği destek gücünü koruyor.  Mülteci kamplarında muhalif savaşçılara ve ailelerine ev sahipliği yapıyor, siyasi ve askeri muhalif grupların topraklarında bir araya gelmesine izin veriyor ve lojistik ve malzeme yardımı yapıyor. Ancak Türkiye, hiçbir zaman Suriye içindeki savaşan muhalefetin ana destekçisi olmadı ve Körfez ülkeleri siyasi alanda da daha fazla nüfuz kazandılar. Buna rağmen muhalefetin ana siyasi kanadı olan Suriye Muhalif ve Devrimci Güçler Ulusal Koalisyonu ile sürdürülen temas, Cenevre-2 barış görüşmeleri için destek sağlanmasına ve Kürtlerin sınırlı da olsa temsil edilmesine yardım etti. Türkiye, Suriye’nin kuzeyindeki muhalif gruplara gönderilen teçhizat için transit ülke olarak bu gruplar üzerindeki nüfuzunu kullanmalı ve onların uluslararası insani hukuk kurallarına uymalarını ve mezhep ayrımı göstermeyecek şekilde davranmalarını teşvik etmeli. Dış politikada İran da dahil bölgedeki ortaklarıyla açık iletişimi sürdürerek Türkiye, Suriye savaşında dış aktörlerin müdahalelerini karşılıklı olarak azaltmaya ve barışa daha uygun bir ortam inşa etmeye gayret etmeli.

U.N. envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths speaks to the media during a visit to the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen November 23, 2018. Picture taken November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Yemen: Giving Peace a Chance?

Preliminary peace consultations on Yemen are scheduled to start in Stockholm on 6 December. This is the second attempt in three months to jump-start talks. Crisis Group consultant Peter Salisbury explains why the Sweden talks are so important and what could go wrong.

What are the talks in Stockholm expected to achieve?

In September, the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, failed to bring the parties to the table in Geneva after last-minute wrangling. This time he hopes to have better success. The Huthis arrived in Sweden on 4 December, with the internationally recognised government due to arrive the next day.

The talks in Sweden are preliminary consultations to set the stage for eventual negotiations. Griffiths hopes that the two sides will agree on some basic confidence-building measures, including prisoner swaps, the reopening of Sanaa airport and perhaps an agreement to stabilise Hodeida, as well as a broad roadmap for future talks. The two Yemeni delegations – representatives of the Huthi Ansar Allah movement and of the government of Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi – are not scheduled to meet face-to-face on this occasion; instead, the UN will shuttle between them. But given that every round of talks has collapsed – the last meaningful negotiations took place in Kuwait more than two years ago – even these limited goals may prove to be a stretch.

Has anything happened since September to suggest talks in Sweden will make progress?

What has changed is that, over the past three months, the world has become more aware of the catastrophe unfolding in Yemen and of the need to stop it. Leaders in Europe and the U.S. have spoken out with greater clarity about the need to end the war. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul in early October, has bolstered the ranks of Congressmen trying to force a change in U.S. policy on Yemen, opening the war and the U.S.’s role in it to wider public debate. On 29 November, the Senate voted by a 63-37 margin to advance a resolution that would require the Trump administration to “remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen”.

Resolve to end U.S. support for the war appears to be growing.

The Senate is also considering a second bill that aims to curtail U.S. support for Saudi Arabia – as much a rebuke to the Saudis for the Khashoggi killing as it is to Trump for giving the Saudis seemingly unconditional support – despite the Trump administration’s efforts to ward off any action that might damage U.S. relations with the kingdom. In the wake of the CIA director’s testimony before select members of Congress on 4 December on the Khashoggi murder and Saudi responsibility for it, resolve to end U.S. support for the war appears to be growing. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has become an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that he would work to build support for a bill aimed at cutting off military support for the Saudis’ war effort in Yemen in response to the killing.

In an attempt to pre-empt strong Congressional action, the U.S. secretaries of defence and state, Jim Mattis and Mike Pompeo, last month had called for a cessation of hostilities and for all parties to attend the Sweden talks. They subsequently announced an end to American in-air refuelling of Saudi aircraft operating in Yemen. A number of European countries have halted arms sales to Riyadh in protest of the indiscriminate way in which it has been waging its air war in Yemen, and the UK has introduced a draft UN Security Council resolution to address Yemen’s downward humanitarian spiral. But the U.S. position may not have changed as much as its public rhetoric might suggest. While publicly calling for an end to the war, the Trump administration has been vocally supportive of Riyadh’s policy in Yemen and quietly manoeuvring to block the draft UK resolution, suggesting that senior officials’ public statements of concern are less than genuine. In a 20 November statement, Trump wrote that Iran was directly responsible for the Yemen war, while Pompeo said on 1 December that “we intend to continue” military support for Riyadh.

What are the chances of success?

Griffiths might be able to fulfil his limited aim of getting the Huthis and Hadi to agree to confidence-building measures, sign up to a broader framework for negotiations with some tweaks, and schedule substantive peace talks in the near future. But unfortunately, the odds are high that the consultations will break down amid mutual recriminations, as has happened during all previous rounds.

Both sides are disinclined to compromise. The coalition and the Hadi government think that the tide has turned against the Huthis on the ground and are willing to wait to improve their position. The Huthis for their part are unlikely to demonstrate much flexibility, and view the current mood in Western capitals against Saudi Arabia as shifting in their favour. They might even see a battle for the port of Hodeida and the ensuing famine as a way of turning the narrative against the coalition and government, bolstering their bargaining position as Western governments ramp up the pressure to end the war.

Despite these negative dynamics, Griffiths nonetheless should use the meeting to try to build momentum behind his peace plan and line up more substantive talks for 2019. If he can get the parties to at least agree to confidence-building measures – and follow up on them in the weeks and months after the talks – then he will be able to credibly claim that the UN-led process has new relevance.

Most importantly, he needs to obtain an agreement on Hodeida that would spare it from a coalition-led offensive. The Huthis have said they are willing to hand the port over to the UN. Getting the Yemeni government – and by extension the coalition – to agree to this and then taking steps to demilitarise the city would be a major success.

What is the situation around Hodeida today and why is it so critical?

In the past three months, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led Yemeni forces have tightened the noose around Hodeida, cutting off the main road into the northern highlands where the majority of Yemen’s population resides. This leaves open only the road along the coast from Hodeida northward, lengthening the journey of critical supplies to millions of people. This further raises the cost of goods for people who are already poorer because they have not received their public sector salaries in months. Moreover, the main milling facility east of Hodeida is held by UAE-backed forces who have not permitted the UN to enter it, preventing the processing of grain. The UN humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, has warned of “a great big famine” affecting 14 million people (half the country’s population) if the fighting does not stop immediately.

UAE policymakers openly state that they expect the talks to fail.

If fighting breaks out inside the port (let alone the city), the Huthis can be expected to dig in. Fighting and insecurity around the port inevitably would mean further disruption of the last remaining import supply line out of Hodeida. The result: a desperate, hungry population in the highlands could be pushed into outright starvation.

Why are UAE-led forces targeting Hodeida?

The UAE-led campaign for the Red Sea coast, which has been ongoing for almost two years, is an attempt to cut off the Huthis’ access to the sea and to customs revenues from the port. The UAE and Saudi Arabia believe that the loss of territory and a valuable revenue stream will force the rebels to make significant concessions. They may also hope to shift the moral burden for the humanitarian catastrophe to the Huthis: once the Saudi-led coalition controls the port, they say, any hindrance on humanitarian access will be due to the Huthis’ actions, not their own.

The UAE says its campaign is meant to force the Huthis to adopt a more realistic position at the negotiating table. But there are indications that it is intent on capturing Hodeida’s port regardless of the outcome of talks, and possibly the city as well, viewing such a seizure as a key, indispensable step in changing the Huthi’s outlook and the overall balance of power. UAE policymakers openly state that they expect the talks – which they claim are the Huthis’ “last chance” before they push toward Hodeida port – to fail.

The Huthis’ fourteen-year history of armed insurgency suggests that the coalition’s logic is flawed. If they lose Hodeida, the Huthis are unlikely to surrender. Nor would they be entirely dispossessed of revenue streams: they could levy taxes on trucks passing from Hodeida into the north west of Yemen. Finally, they will blame the coalition for the humanitarian catastrophe that would ensue, given that it will be their decision to take the port (notwithstanding the Huthis’ agreement in principle to hand the port over to the UN) that would have caused it. They are confident that much of international public opinion will agree.

What impact might the talks have on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis?

For international actors, finding a way to end the conflict has become increasingly urgent. The war has caused what the UN says is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. More than 22 million people, out of a population of 28 million, require some sort of assistance. Some 14 million are severely food insecure, living in what the UN calls “pre-famine” conditions. About 10,000 people contract cholera every week; there have been more than 1.2 million cases of the disease, and more than 2,500 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Save the Children estimates that 85,000 children may have already died of hunger and preventable diseases since the civil war evolved from an internal power struggle into an internationalised conflict in early 2015. Millions of Yemenis are one economic shock from starvation. But there is still a chance to prevent worse. The consultations in Sweden could be an important first step to that end.

What will be the main sticking points in this new attempt at talks?

The Huthis and the Hadi government will arrive in Sweden looking to advance their respective agendas. Getting them to align on even basic issues is likely to be difficult. A recent agreement on swapping prisoners was a good step forward, but had been the subject of UN-mediated and back-channel negotiation for months before these talks. Reopening Sanaa airport or coming to an accommodation on Hodeida is likely to be much harder work, as neither side will be inclined to give anything up to the other.

As the Hadi government sees it, it shouldn’t have to make any concession at all. It believes it should be restored to power under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls on the Huthis to lay down their arms and for Hadi – named as the “legitimate president” of Yemen – to return to the capital and oversee the completion of the transitional process that ran from 2012 until the Huthis took over Sanaa in September 2014. The fact that this resolution continues to frame the mainstream debate allows the government to approach negotiations as if it were deciding the terms of a Huthi surrender. While the Hadi government has said it will allow the Huthis to participate in future governments in some capacity, it wants a future deal to affirm its legitimacy and sanction the Huthi “coup”.

The Huthis, meanwhile, describe their coup as a people’s revolution, and argue that the war they are fighting is not against the Hadi government but against the Saudis and Emiratis (as well as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State). For this reason, they argue that the war began in March 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition entered the fray, not the preceding September when they took the capital by force. They frame the negotiations as an opportunity to stop Saudi-led “aggression” and argue that talks should be held between them and the Saudi government.

How are the Hadi government and the Huthis currently faring?

Although the Hadi government is presented as a major party to the conflict, in reality its position is relatively weak. Nominally, Hadi oversees a large array of groups, generally described as the National Army and National Resistance; in reality, the groups fighting the Huthis on the ground are deeply divided and often mutually antagonistic. Hadi doesn’t spend much time in Aden, the city that he named temporary capital in 2015, because many districts are controlled by UAE-backed fighters who have developed a rivalry with forces loyal to Hadi.

The Huthis themselves are not in a very strong position.

Hadi is currently in the U.S. for treatment of a heart condition, triggering speculation as to what might or should happen if he were incapacitated or died. Elections are not a possibility and the uncertain process of appointing of a new president would likely prompt a government reshuffle and a change in negotiating strategy; it could also trigger a new conflict among anti-Huthi groups. Southerners, for example, are unlikely to accept the authority of the current vice president, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who under constitutional rules would take over from Hadi for a two-month period in the event that he died, because of his role in Yemen’s 1994 civil war over the south’s attempt at secession.

The Huthis themselves are not in a very strong position. After killing their erstwhile ally Saleh in December 2017, they swiftly consolidated their control over Yemen’s north-western provinces. But they are being squeezed economically and gradually losing territory. That said, they have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to sustain the destructive grind of what has become a war of attrition. They know that any future military gains by coalition-backed groups are likely to come at a high human cost that they can pin on the coalition and the Hadi government; they plan to maintain pressure on the coalition by attacking urban centres in Saudi Arabia and the UAE with drones and ballistic missiles.

So as we go into talks, the old maxim rings true: Hope for the best, plan for the worst.