The north and the north-east of Syria are under the control of the Turkish Armed Forces. For years now, the Western and Arab media have been talking about the Turkisation of the region: people are exchanging Syrian passports for Turkish ones, settlements are being given Turkish names, the lira has replaced the Syrian pound. The demographic make-up is also changing: Turkmans and Sunni Arabs are being resettled in Kurdish areas.
Traditionally, Ankara uses soft power. Schools are being built and rebuilt, education programmes are being adapted. Thousands of teachers are paid from the neighbouring state, Turkish is taught from the first grade. Graduates are offered admission to universities in Turkey.
Ankara also finances the reconstruction of hospitals. In late May, Anadolu news agency reported that Turkey had restored power to Idlib. The repair work lasted seven months. Before that, there were only two hours of light a day.
Under the guise of measures to improve the quality of life of people living in refugee camps, Turkey is building in the occupied territories. On June 20 this year, 150 single-storey houses were put into operation in the area of Katma settlement. The Directorate of Religious Affairs of Turkey has started the construction of a mosque and a secondary school and similar facilities in the locality of Jenderes.
The problem is that Turkey is acting as if it were at home in Syria, even though Turkish troops are in the north illegally, not by a UN Security Council decision and not at the invitation of Damascus. With such hybrid techniques, Ankara is trying to expand its sphere of influence within the concept of neo-Ottomanism. By his actions, Erdoğan is slowly creating the conditions for the annexation of these territories and their annexation to Turkey.