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Turkey Calculus of Syrian Intervention Factors

January 27, 2018

Turkey Calculus of Syrian Intervention Factors

By LushFun

Unilateral intervention into Syria breaches NATO aegis.

Ergo, if the flow of battle is unfavorable and Turkey calls for article 5 guarantees they will not be provided due them being the aggressor state and this may be deemed an internal conflict or an external conflict with a non-state actor.

Financial ramifications of intervention are uncertain in the respect of levers available for U.S. to deny refinancing of short-term dollar denominated debt. Financial sector issued bonds in dollars and euros may become particularly challenging factors in the spiral of capital outflows that may trigger a credit freeze.

A force majeure situation in regard to intervention into Syria would allow a certain ability to call a Security Council resolution to exert pressure. Here we enter the twilight zone because it would allow for a de-facto freezing of NATO commitment without de-facto statements due to isolation factors. The problem in such a situation is that guarantees no longer apply intra-alliance.

Hypothetically, an aggression against ‘Turkey’ in Northern Cyprus would no longer trigger NATO defensive guarantees but would trigger CSDP commitments if those are called onto by Cyprus or UK via a “provocation” of some sort. In essence due to EU-NATO cooperation there would be a backward induction of NATO into any security operation EU conducts through the CSDP mechanism, this is extremely cynical but theoretically possible.

Turkey going against the EastMed pipeline which is backed by Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel sets it up against economic interests of the EU in the energy sphere to a degree. Granted it will become more apparent once the feasibility study is done in a few months.

Critical issue at hand is that right now the position Turkey is taking sets it up against more and more actors in various sectors and spheres. There seems no bargaining on its’ part and consolidation of others’ interests will likely backfire, especially if there is an opening to re-configure those interests to overcome Turkey blocking certain developments.

Four scenarios below.

Scenario A, security council resolution is blocked by Russia and China

Scenario B, security council resolution passes, effectively suspending NATO guarantees until conflict is deemed resolved, this sets up for financial leverage and other factors to draw out concessions that Europe and U.S. wants.

Scenario C, involves failure of Scenario B with possible military intervention. Ergo, UK bases on Cyprus activated as facilitators of CSDP push to “de-occupy” Cyprus due to energy interests. Full support for Kurds in Europe and U.S. and possible financial sanctions that would risk default on dollar denominated debts Turkish banks and other parts of the economy have as an overhang.

Scenario D, two to three months pass to see if Turkish involvement in Northern Syria is successful or not, gradual escalation of covert support to exert more pressure on negotiable tenets with possible follow up of Scenarios A through C.


This is simply my opinion of possible futures in the next six to nine months. In my view the most dangerous aspect is the duration of foreign denominated debt since the maturity schedule is known and positioning of actions by various actors would be more impactful without full blown hostilities. Theoretically pressing liquidity concerns very slowly onto the stage while coordination of actions behind the scenes would allow not only stripping away liquidity, but drawing down on outside possible sources of funding Turkey has into the culminating bargaining matrix. Essentially a hedging position by Europe and U.S. that is pressed into fruition via secondary action mechanisms.

The following questions come to mind.

What could Europe and U.S. get from Turkey by putting it into such a position? If one imagines Scenario D, B, and then C coming to life, what is the ultimate goal of the reconfiguration? If someone thinks this is about a pipeline or Kurdish autonomy those are the things we see on the surface but they do not validate such leverage by themselves.

Be well dear reader

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