ABSTRACT This commentary examines Ankara’s ‘safe zones’ in Northern Syria, as well as elaborating on whether creating safe zones in response to the war in Syria and the subsequent humanitarian catastrophe was a choice or a requirement for Ankara in terms of irregular migration and border security. Turkey has declared multiple safe zones within Syria’s borders, using its right to self-defense under international law, to battle terrorist organizations that have taken advantage of the rising authority vacuum on Syrian land to put Turkish borders and nationals in danger. After an examination of the critical turning points in the Syrian civil war, the paper proposes that the safe zones serve three preemptive and prospective functions by providing a safe haven for the civilian population, by paving a step forward in the counter-terrorism campaign, and attempts to stop irregular migration and finally, by allowing Syrians to return to their homeland.
Motivated by the allegations of Germany’s indirect support for the PKK, voiced frequently in recent years among the Turkish public, this study aims to analyze Germany’s Kurdish policy in general, and PKK policy in particular. The author posits that even though Berlin does not want to acknowledge that the PKK question impacts its country and seeks to keep the negative effects of it away from its soil, developments have pushed the German governments to follow a well-balanced political approach to the PKK question, which has significant domestic and foreign political dimensions for Germany. The article further argues that although Germany’s politics of balance disappoints and even frustrates Turkey and the PKK leadership alike at times, the policy has remained unchanged for years and seems unlikely to change in the future.