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Middle East

Developments in Syria's northern Idlib region have put Turkey's President in a tight corner, perhaps the tightest since he first hijacked state power ten or more years ago. Upwards of a million refugees, purged by Assadist forces operating under Russian air support, are stumbling northwards toward the Turkish border. The border is closed. But you can't keep a million starved, frozen, desperate refugees out by main force. Turkey already houses over three million Syrian refugees and the country's native inhabitants have had enough. The resentment of Turkish citizens threatens to derail Erdogan's grip on power.

Ergodan sent in the Turkish army, with tanks, artillery and armored vehicles, long-range rockets in tow. But they have no protection from Russian air power. A nation with a long militaristic history like Turkey can endure battlefield martyrs, inflows of refugees, curbs on freedoms and strongman posturing in its leader, up to a point. What it won't tolerate is defeat, especially defeat that a supine media can't hide from the populace. Plus, the collapse of Ankara-backed Sunni rebels in Syria will free the Kurds to unite geographically along Turkey's southern border thereby furnish support to fellow Kurds inside Turkey. An even bigger blow. So Erdogan abuts a Waterloo moment. He is asking Nato desperately for Patriot air cover from Russian airstrikes against Turkish soldiers. Having spurned Nato and the West, having defiantly purchased Russian missile batteries, Erdogan has run out of bluffing room on both sides.

Read more on Forbes:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2020/02/21/turkey-and-russia-fight-it-out-is-this-the-end-of-the-road-for-erdogan/

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