The Turkish leadership strongly emphasizes that the actions of the Turkish military in northern Syria and Iraq are driven by concern for protecting the interests of local Turkmens. It was the bombing of the Turkmen regions of Syria that Turkey accused Russia of Aviation on the eve and after the attack on a Russian plane. Turkish nationalists argue that the country should defend the Syrian Turkmens, who were discriminated against by the Assad government, and today can become a victim of Russian aircraft and attacks by Kurdish forces. At the same time, the number of Syrian and Iraqi Turkmens increases many times in the reports of pro-government and nationalist Turkish media, and significant territories in northern Syria are declared the region of compact residence of Turkmens. It is possible - for the prospective inclusion of these lands, in the case of the partition of the Syrian state, in Turkey. The exact number of Turkmens living in the Middle East is unknown. According to some reports, between 600 and 000-2 million Turkmen live in Iraq. The exact size of the Turkmen population in Syria is unknown. Various sources call the data from 3 thousand to three million people. Of course, official Syrian sources admit that only 200-100 thousand Turkmens live in Syria, while Turkish nationalist publications report about two to three million Turkmens in Syria. At the same time, the Turkish authorities include the Arabs or Kurds with distant Turkic roots, although they may not speak the Turkmen language. The total population of Syria is 200 million people. If the Turkmen population of the country totaled 18 million, then it would outnumber the Syrian Kurds, who are a large and well-known political force. Kurds in Syria make up 3% of the country's total population. The size of the Turkmen population in Syria is now also becoming the subject of political speculation. Who are the Syrian and Iraqi Turkmens and how did they appear in the Middle East?
How Turkmen appeared in the Middle East
To the Turkmen of Central Asia, their Syrian and Iraqi "namesakes" are relatives, although they are more closely related not even to Central Asian Turkmen, but to the Azerbaijani tribes of Iran. Both come from the same Oguz branch of the Turkic peoples. The language spoken by Syrian and Iraqi Turkmen is very close to Azerbaijani, including only a larger number of Arab borrowings. By the way, the classics of Azerbaijani literature Fizuli and Nasimi Syrian and Iraqi Turkmen consider their authors, and the grave of Nasimi until recently was located in Aleppo (it was blown up during the fights of the Assad troops with the formations of the Islamic State banned in Russia). Syrian Turkmen speak dialects closer to Turkish dialects in the border provinces of Turkey, and Iraqi Turkmen speak dialects close to the Turkic dialects of the Diyarbakir and Urfa regions, as well as the Azerbaijani language. In Azerbaijan, many local nationalists consider the Turkic population of Syria and Iraq as Azerbaijani, and in this regard call on the leadership of Azerbaijan to provide full support to the Syrian and Iraqi Turkmen political organizations. On the other hand, a significant part of the Turkmen population of Syria has undergone a strong Arab linguistic and cultural influence, therefore many descendants of Turkmen are now indistinguishable from the Syrian Arabs and practically do not have a special Turkmen identity. Their language is Arabic, and material culture is fully borrowed from its Arab neighbors.
The ethnonym "Turkmen", or "Turkuman" appeared in the Middle Ages. It is still not clear what was the reason for the appearance of this designation of the Oguz nomads. The most common version is a combination of the Türkic ethnonym "Türk" and the Iranian word "men" - "person". Another version that was voiced by the Russian F. A. Mikhailov in his work “The Natives of the Transcaspian Region and Their Life,” says that the Oghuz responded to a question about their nationality “Turkman myan” - “Turks I”. Mention of Turkmen is contained in the works of medieval scholars Biruni, Kashgari, Marvazi. On the territory of Mesopotamia, Turkmen emerged as a result of migration from the Central Asian tribes of Oguz Turks, the southern branch of which = Seljuks - created the Seljuk state. From the XI century. Oguz Turks played a crucial role in stories region. In 1055, Sultan Togrul-bey captured Baghdad, after which he began to settle the Turkmen tribes along the key trade routes of Iraq, especially from the cities of Erbil and Kirkuk. Nowadays, the zone of settlement of the Turkmen tribes in Iraq is called “Turkmeneli”. In 1375, the Turkic tribes of Kara-Koyunly (Black-ram Turkmens) created their own state. In 1468, the lands of Kara-Koyunlu became part of the new state Ak-Koyunlu (white-ram Turkmens). It is the kaar-koyunlu and ak-koyunlu that are the direct ancestors of the modern Turkmen tribes of Syria and Iraq. A new wave of migration of the Turkmen tribes in Mesopotamia was associated with the formation and strengthening of the Ottoman Empire.
In Syria, the Oguz tribes appeared about the same time as in Iraq. After victory in the Battle of Dandanakan, in which the Seljuk Turks clashed with the troops of the Gaznevidi Sultanate, the Seljuks rushed freely into Western Asia and soon captured the Syrian cities of Tripoli, Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo, Homs, etc. Thus, the Oguzes established control over the territory of Syria. In 1072, Sultan Melik Shah captured Northern Syria, after which the Turkic tribes of the Yiva, battle, Bayat, Afshar, Baidilli, Duker and Uchek were resettled to Damascus and Aleppo. Since then, the Turkic tribes have played an important role in the life of Syria. Given the militancy and organization of the Turkic nomads, they relatively quickly subjugated the sedentary population of the region. In fact, from this time on, the Turks asserted their authority over Mesopotamia. After the formation of the Ottoman Empire, large groups of Turks from the Asia Minor regions of Sivas and Kayseri were resettled to Syria. The Ottomans set for the Syrian Turks the task of protecting the trade and pilgrim routes that passed through Syria. A significant part of the Turks settled in Syrian cities, where in the Arabic environment they gradually assimilated and turned into ordinary Sunni Arabs, only of Turkic origin. In 1337, a state formation of Turkmen tribes, the Dulcadirid beylik, arose on the territory of modern Syria. The origins of this Bailik were representatives of the Oguz tribal group Bozok. By the way, the Ottomans, the creators of the Ottoman Empire, belonged to the same group. Dulkadir-oglu Zeiniddin Ahmed Karadj-Bey became the founder of a small property (Beylik) with its capital in Elbistan. Then the center of the beylik was transferred to Marash. The composition of this political entity included Kayseri, Elazig, Ayintap, Malatya, Adiyaman. Karaj-Bey periodically fought with the Armenians, supported the anti-Mamluk uprising in Aleppo. In response to the support of the Khaleb uprising, Karadj Bey was overthrown by the Mamluks, and Khalil Bey, the son of Karaj Bai, became the new ruler of the beylik. Later, the Dulcadir possessions were devastated by Tamerlane's troops. The grandson of Karaj Bey, Mohammed Bey, who enjoyed the support of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed, regained power over the beylik. In 1522, Beylik lands were annexed to the Ottoman Empire. Almost at the same time, the whole of Syria became part of the Ottoman state, after the Ottoman troops defeated the Mamluks in 1516 in the battle of Marge Dabik. For four centuries, the power of the Ottoman Turks was established in Syria.
During Ottoman rule in Mesopotamia, the Turkic population in the region gradually increased. In addition to the Turkmen tribes settled here in the Middle Ages, the Turkic population of Syria and Iraq was replenished at the expense of Turkish officials and military personnel. They and their descendants settled in the cities, many then dissolved in the surrounding mass of the Arab population, the benefit also professed Sunni Islam. Thus, in addition to the increase in the number of Turks in Mesopotamia, the assimilation of the Turkic population of cities took place simultaneously. But in the countryside, the Turkmen maintained their own culture and national identity. Despite the common name, the culture of the Syrian and Iranian Turkomans has little in common with the culture of Central Asian Turkmen. To a large extent, the Turkomans are close to the Turkic population of Eastern Turkey and Western Iran. Most of the Turkomans of Syria and Iraq are Sunni Muslims. Before the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in World War I and the beginning of the collapse of the empire, the Syrian and Iraqi Turkmen enjoyed significant privileges, because the Ottoman governments regarded them as the main agents of their influence in the region and at the same time as a means of putting pressure on the Arab population of Syria and Iraq. However, the situation completely changed after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkoman population was divided between Iraq, which was largely controlled by the British, and Syria, on whose territory several administrative-territorial formations controlled by France were created. Further paths of the Syrian and Iraqi Turkomans were also divided, although they had a lot in common - first of all, the Turkmen population turned out to be an ethnic minority in the countries where the titular nation was Arabs, quite negatively related to the Ottoman past and the Turks, whose presence personified it.
Iraqi Turkmen before Saddam, under Saddam and after Saddam
After the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, Iraqi Turkmen began to actively advocate for the entry of the Mosul vilayet, on whose territory a large Turkic population resided, into Turkey. However, this was not to be. However, until the mid-twentieth century. The situation of the Turkmen population of Iraq remained quite bearable. The 1923 constitution recognized Turkmen as one of the peoples of Iraq. In turn, the Turkmen showed loyalty to the Iraqi government, in contrast to the Kurds who regularly revolted against the central authorities. And this is despite the fact that already since 1932, when Iraq became an independent state, the authorities began to gradually reorient themselves towards a policy of discrimination against the Turkmen population. From the country's constitution, references to Turkmen as one of the peoples of Iraq have disappeared. Although by the 1957, the Turkmen constituted 10% of the population of Iraq. In Kirkuk, the Turkmen population prevailed - here, Turkmen accounted for 67% of the total local population. The situation changed after the 1958 revolution, when the monarchy was overthrown in Iraq. In 1963, BAAS came to power in the country - the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party, speaking from the standpoint of Arab nationalism. After that, the Iraqi authorities adopted a strategy to suppress the Turkish national movement and advocated for the assimilation of the Turkic population of the country.
According to the Iraqi leadership, Turkmen practicing Sunniism could be dissolved in the Arab population without any problems, since they had a much less developed identity than the Kurds. As for the part of Iraqi Turkmen who professed Shiism, their situation was much more deplorable. They, like other Iraqi Shiites, have been subject to the repressive and discriminatory policies of the regime of Saddam Hussein. A variety of crimes were committed against the Shiite population, including religious killings. Many Iraqi Turkmen during the reign of Saddam Hussein were forced to emigrate from the country, fleeing from possible reprisals. After the regime began to liberalize national policy in 1990 and proclaimed Iraq a state of Arabs and Kurds, the situation for Turkmenistan did not change - the Iraqi authorities persistently ignored their existence, fearing that recognition of the Turkmen would increase their national identity the hand of Turkey and Turkish interests in the region. Saddam Hussein planned to resettle the Turkmen from Northern Iraq to the border with Saudi Arabia - to the desert lands, because he feared that the Turkmen could become a “fifth column” in the territory of Iraq in the event of a conflict with Turkey. Domestic discrimination of the Turkmen population was developed, in particular, to get into the state or military service, Turkmen had to identify themselves as Arabs. Turkish was completely banned, which Iraqi Turkmen used as a literary language. All schools where teaching in Turkish was subjected to closure, of course, the Turkic-language press ceased to be published. Arabs and Kurds migrated en masse to areas of compact residence of the Turkmen population in order to dilute the Turkmen population and to exclude the possibility of rejection of the Turkmen regions from Iraq in favor of Turkey. In Kirkuk, Erbil and Mosul, the Turkmen intelligentsia was repressed.
However, after the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the situation in Iraqi Turkmanistan has not improved. The territory inhabited by the Turkmen became part of Iraqi Kurdistan. Naturally, the Kurds became the titular nation in Iraqi Kurdistan, Assyrians, Christian Arabs, Armenians, and Yezidis feel safe. But the Turkmen population is again in a discriminated position. This is understandable - the Ottoman Empire, and then the Republic of Turkey, historically oppressed the Kurdish population. For modern Kurds, Turkey is one of the main opponents (the Islamic State is now in first place, which, incidentally, has some support from Turkey). Turkmen communities in Iraqi Kurdistan remind Kurds of the times of Turkish rule and, for obvious reasons, Iraqi Turkmen are unhappy with their current living conditions. Moreover, opposition moods among Iraqi Turkmen are actively supported and sponsored by neighboring Turkey, for which the Turkic population is viewed as a tool to influence the policy of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Back in 2006, the city of Jalal Talabani, elected president of Iraq, stated the need for granting and constitutional consolidation of autonomy for areas inhabited by Turkomans in Iraq. But until now, the problem of autonomy for Iraqi Turkmen has not been resolved. At present, the most influential political forces in Iraqi Turkmenistan remain the pro-Turkish Iraqi Turkmen Front, which cooperates with the Turkish authorities, and the Turkmen People’s Party, which is focused on cooperation with the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan. The pro-Turkish part of the Turkomans is in favor of the gradual formation of the Turkoman autonomy in Iraq and is criticizing the official policy of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Since the United States of America in Iraq took a position of active support for Iraqi Kurds and played an important role in establishing and strengthening the positions of Iraqi Kurdistan, anti-American sentiments are very strong among Iraqi Turkmen. Dislike for Kurds and Americans turns Iraqi Turkmen into fertile ground for the propaganda activities of religious fundamentalists of the Islamic State. Many Iraqi Turkmen already regret the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Thus, the head of the Federation of Turkmen Associations, Aydin Beyatly, in an interview with Turkish journalists complained that “Iraqi Turkmen faced difficulties and injustice during the monarchy, during the republic, and under the Saddam regime. We were killed, exiled, tried to assimilate. In the 2003 year, the Turkmen entered with great hopes, with faith "in a new era." It is a pity that these hopes were not destined to come true. We are in an era when you realize that the regime of Saddam Hussein was much better than the current one ”(quoted in: http://www.turkist.org/2014/02/iraq-turkmen.html). Back in 2007, a representative of the leadership of the Iraqi Front of Turkmans Hussein Kerim Beyoglu complained that because of the high crime rate many prominent Turkmen, primarily entrepreneurs, doctors, scientists, had to leave Kirkuk and settled in neighboring Syria and Turkey. Then it was quieter in Syria than in Iraq. Now the situation has changed.
Syrian Turkmen before the civil war
Syrian Turkmen have never been so numerous as Iraq’s Turkmens, therefore a priori could not play any noticeable role in the political life of the country. However, Turkey has always used the presence of the Turkoman population in Syria to make claims to Damascus. Like Iraqi Turkmen, Syrian Turkmen after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire were in a quandary. Developed cultural and business ties with Turkey and the Turkic world were broken. In 1936, in Syria, bans were imposed on the Turkmen language, publishing literature in Turkish, and uniting into political parties and public organizations on a national basis. Arab nationalists, who came to power in Syria, feared that raising the national consciousness of the Syrian Turkmen would entail the emergence and development of the separatist movement in the northern regions of the country inhabited by the Turkmen and adjacent to the Syrian-Turkish border. The Turkmen of Syria, like the Turkmen of Iraq, were not recognized at the official level as a national minority. The Syrian Arab Socialist Revival Party, which ruled in Syria, hoped to assimilate the Turkmen population, given its Sunni religion and cultural affinity to neighboring Arab groups. Activists of pro-Turkish Turkmen organizations were subjected to police harassment.
However, in general, Syrian Turkmen were much more loyal than the same Syrian Kurds. Basically, the Turkmen population was engaged in agriculture, and in the cities - in the shoe business. In Aleppo, the shoemen "kept" the Turkmen. It cannot be said that under the rule of Asadov, the Turkmen population was subjected to some kind of persecution, which could be comparable to the fate of Iraqi Turkmen. Even one of the Syrian defense ministers, General Hassan al-Turkmenistan, as his name underlines, was originally Syrian Turkmen. Like most Syrian Arabs, the Syrian Turkmen are Sunni Muslims. A significant part of Syrian Turkmen assimilated to the Arab environment. In contrast to the Iraqi Turkomans, who largely retained their tribal division, the Syrian Turkmen tribal division was almost lost. Especially in the cities where the process of "Arabization" of the Turkmen population was rapidly going on. However, the Turkmen of the Begdili tribe, who live in Syria and in neighboring Turkey, have maintained a stable tribal identity. From the majority of other Turkmen tribes in Syria, only the names of settlements in the north of the country remained. Nevertheless, the Turkish government and the media controlled by it actively exploit the topic of “the sufferings of the multi-million Turkmen people in Syria”, trying to divert attention from Turkey’s true interests in this country. At the same time, the actual size of the Turkmen population is exaggerated and it is emphasized that all Turkmen oppose Assad, although in reality this is far from the case.
Transformation of Syrian Turkmen into Turkish policy instrument
At the same time, one should not deny the fact that after the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the situation of the Turkmen population in the country has seriously deteriorated. This was due to the fact that the Turkmen were under the threat of attacks from several powerful opponents at once - radical fundamentalists from the "Islamic State" and similar groups, the Kurdish National Self-Defense Detachments, and the government troops of Bashar al-Assad. Turkey volunteered to patronize the Syrian Turkmen, which, of course, was not so much concerned about the real situation of the Turkmen minority in Syria, but about protecting their own political and economic interests. In the face of the Turkmen groupings, the Turkish authorities are striving to create on the border of Syria and Turkey a counterbalance to the Kurdish Popular Self-Defense Detachments. At the same time, Turkmen groups help solve the problem of ensuring the smuggling of goods with the "Islamic State". Finally, it is likely that Turkey is counting “on the sly” to initiate a growth of separatist sentiments in the Turkmen regions of Syria and to include them in its composition. Russian expert, director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia, Semyon Bagdasarov, in an interview with the newspaper "Vzglyad" stressed that "the Turkomans are Oghuz Turks living in Syria and Iraq. The Turks, respectively, support them, and they in turn move in the wake of Turkish politics. Historically, Ankara has positioned itself as a defender of Turkomans and constantly “protects their interests” when it produces an incident ”(quoted on: http://www.vz.ru/world/2015/11/26/ 780269.html).
In fact, the work of stirring up separatist sentiment among Syrian Turkmen began in the 1990s. So, in 1994 in Turkey, the mutual aid organization of the Turkmen Bayir-Budjaka was created. With the beginning of the “Arab Spring”, the activities of Turkmen national organizations sharply intensified. Thus, in Turkey, the “Syrian Turkmen movement” was created, headed by Ali Ozturkmen. The movement was created through the active use of social networks and was aimed at consolidating the Turkmen youth, which was called to seize individual neighborhoods of Syrian cities. Since that time, Turkmen organizations have become a regular participant in all the activities of the Syrian anti-Assad opposition. The Syrian Turkmen group led by Bekir Atachan became another pro-Turkish organization. In November 2011, as a result of the unification of the Syrian Turkmen movement and the Syrian Turkmen group, the Syrian Turkmen bloc was created, led by Yusuf Mollah, a native of Syria, who has long lived in Turkey. The Yusuf Molla Bloc has created many branches in Turkey and Syria. Finally, the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement, created under the leadership of Abudlkarim Aga and Ziyad Hassan, is in operation. The movement is controlled by Turkmen schools in Syria, youth, women’s, student and workers ’organizations of Turkmen, which are actively being created with the support of Turkey in order to Turkize the population of Northern Syria and strengthen the national identity of the Turkmen themselves. But these are political organizations, and there are also militarized groups of Syrian Turkmen who actively participate in hostilities. So, in August, 2015, Mr. Abdurrahman Mustafa, who is the chairman of the Mejlis of Syrian Turkmen, officially declared the need to form a Turkmen army on the territory of Syria capable of defending the Turkmen population from all possible adversaries, to which Mustafa attributed the Assad government forces, Kurdish militia and troops " Islamic state. Mustafa accused both the IG and the Kurds of ethnic cleansing in the territories of the Syrian Turkmen population occupied by them. So, according to Mustafa, in Tel-Abyad, which the Kurdish militia managed to beat off the "Islamic state", the Kurds carried out a sweep, forcing twenty thousand inhabitants, mainly Turkmen nationality, to flee the city. In Homs, Turkmen were driven out by the troops of Bashar al-Assad. I had to leave and Rakka. It is likely that Turkmen may be forced to leave other areas of their compact residence.
The creation of the Turkmen army is planned under the control of MIT - the Turkish military intelligence service, and the number of the army is defined in 5 thousand people. At the same time, in fact, the leaders of the Syrian Turkmen organizations have only a thousand subordinates. The missing majority of the proposed army, which is four thousand people, is planned to be recruited from among the Turkmen living in Turkey and serving in the Turkish armed forces or studying in Turkish educational institutions. Thus, even this fact indicates that the Turkmen population of Syria is not as large as Turkish official propaganda calls it, and not all Turkmen are ready to join the ranks of the armed units being formed. Most likely, these formations will include not so much Turkish Turkmen (in Turkey there are at least 500 thousands of Turkmen who are related to Syrian Turkmen), as Turkish military personnel from special forces who will be issued as Turkmen militias.
Although the leader of the Majlis called for the creation of the Turkmen army only in August 2015, in fact the Turkmen armed units have long fought as part of the Free Syrian Army, as well as independently against Asad troops and against the Kurds. According to Turkish media reports, and against the formations of the "Islamic State", although in reality the activity of the latter is rather beneficial for Turkey. At least, in fact, Turkey sided with the IG when it attacked a Russian plane. We should not forget about the significant assistance that Turkish public organizations and foundations provide to the "Islamic State", as well as about where the militants of the "Islamic State" formations actually receive treatment and training. Turkmen armed forces control strategically important for Turkey sections of the Syrian-Turkish border, through which oil is transported from IG-controlled areas to Turkey and transit weapons, uniforms, other goods from Turkey - in the territory controlled by the "Islamic State". Therefore, it is very important for Turkey to have control over the Turkmen population and to turn it against the Assad regime. It turns out that the Syrian Turkmen turned into real hostages of Turkey’s aggressive foreign policy. Playing on the national feelings of the Syrian Turkmen, Turkey has tied them into a bloody conflict with the government forces of Assad. Now Turkmen are dying in fighting, during shelling and bombardment of their territory, and Ankara is extracting certain political dividends from the current situation. Naturally, Ankara is actively exaggerating and rumors that the Kurds are carrying out the genocide of the Turkmen population in the territories they have seized. Equally, it is emphasized that the Asad clan expels the Turkmen from Latakia in order to give the most fertile land to their co-religionists to the Syrian Alawite. The Syrian government, of course, denies this information broadcast by the Turkish media. In fact, with the hands of Erdogan, Syrian Turkmen prepared the role of a “sacred victim”, with which the Turkish government hopes to enlist the support of its own people in the confrontation with the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russia, which has entered into armed confrontation with terrorist groups in Syria.
- map of the settlement of Turkmen in Syria (according to Turkish media)
The events on the Turkish-Syrian border also play an important role in justifying the anti-Kurd political repression in Turkey itself. President Recep Erdogan did not want to solve the "Kurdish issue" peacefully, choosing the path of direct suppression of the Kurdish opposition in the country. By this, he actually put Turkey on the verge of resuming a real civil war in its east and southeast - in areas densely populated by the Kurdish population. At the same time, the fight against the Syrian Kurds is viewed by Erdogan in a unified manner with the fight against the national liberation movement of the Kurds in Turkey itself. In this escalation of inter-ethnic tensions, the Turkish president is ready to sacrifice the "tribesmen" of the Turkmen, if the death of several thousand civilians is required to justify the anti-Russian or anti-Kurdish policy of the Turkish government.
Back in 2011, with the beginning of the civil war in Syria, from among the Syrian Turkmen, with the active support of Turkey, armed groups began to form, focused on the war with the Assad regime. In 2012, these formations have already entered the war. Among them, it should be noted, firstly, the Syrian Turkmen Brigade, which numbers 10 thousands of fighters. The second largest group is the Jabal al-Turkman Brigade, which includes 12 armed units. In 2015, the so-called “Jabal Al-Turkman” Brigade was formed. 2-I coastal division (division, of course, the code name). The latter formation works closely with the Free Syrian Army. It is also known about the links of the Syrian Turkmen groups with local formations of the Al-Nusra Front, the Ahrar al-Sham organization, and the Syrian al-Qaida. Military and financial assistance to the Turkmen factions is provided by Turkey, which does not hide its interest in the conflict. Turkish media are also the main distributors of information about the plight of Syrian Turkmen, and in recent months, how Turkmen Syria has suffered losses from the actions of Russian aviation. Allegedly, concern for the interests of the Syrian Turkmen and the Turkish authorities hide behind in their anti-Russian and anti-Syrian policies. Support from Turkey also means participation in the conflict, as part of the Turkmen radical groups, of a large number of Turkish volunteers. First of all, they are radical nationalists from the Turkish ultra-right organizations. One of them is Alpaslan Chelik, who commanded the impudent murder of the Russian pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov. It is known that елиelik is the son of the former mayor of one of the Turkish cities. Of course, he is no Turkmen, but an ethnic Turk, a Turkish citizen. And there are a lot of such nationalists in the ranks of the Turkmen armed groups controlled by Turkey. But among the Turkmen formations there are also staff officers of the Turkish army and special services, who, due to the absence of real language and cultural differences, pretend to be Turkmen. At the same time, one should not think that all Syrian Turkmen are protégés of the Turkish authorities. Thus, the Sultan Selim Brigade operates in the Kobane area - a Turkmen armed group that maintains close ties with the Kurdish National Self-Defense Detachments. The pro-Kurdish positions of the Sultan Selim Brigade show that a certain part of the Turkmen population of Northern Syria is considering its own future in connection with the interests not so much of Turkey, as its long-time neighbors - the Kurds.
Naturally, the Turkish authorities are categorically opposed to the rapprochement of the Turkmen minority of Syria with the Kurds, because in this case the Turkish propaganda picture of the oppression of the Turks by the Kurds, broadcast by Turkish media, is disturbed. Moreover, participation in joint operations with the Kurds means that the Turkmen, instead of defending Turkish interests, come into contact with the troops of the "Islamic State" and other fundamentalist groups. Meanwhile, for Ankara, the main goal is the overthrow of the Assad regime, and the Syrian Turkmen in this regard are considered as a tool with which you can achieve this goal. It does not matter if several thousand civilians die - the main thing is that political goals will be achieved. It is known that after the attack on the Russian Su-24 aircraft and the brutal murder of the Russian pilot who tried to escape, Bayirbujak - the area where the murder occurred, underwent a “sweep” by the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. It can be assumed that the terrorist groups operating in the area were destroyed during the raids of Russian aviation. It should be noted that Turkey, which actually provoked these retaliatory actions, used both Turkmen and armed groups formed from their composition to provoke Russia. The real interests of the Syrian and Iraqi Turkmen are not taken into account by the Turkish government, since they consist primarily in the return of peace and stability to the long-suffering land of the Middle East. But it is unlikely that peace and tranquility are included in the strategic goals of the Turkish authorities, by their provocations only firing confrontation in the Middle East.