By Veysel Ayhan (vol. 5, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 17, proposed that the crisis in Syria be addressed through diplomatic methods and called for the establishment of an international mechanism for dialogue involving countries in the region as well as other interested powers. If pursued, this return to diplomacy would amount to a dramatic shift on the part of Turkey which has until now privileged military means seeking to bring about regime change in Syria by aiding the rebels. However, the crucial question is whether Turkey’s groundbreaking diplomatic initiative of Turkey does indeed represent a strategic withdrawal from its previous stance or rather a temporary, tactical move.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish government appears to hope to deter the continued Syrian – and Iranian – deployment of the Kurdish card against Turkey. But it is questionable whether Turkey will succeed in deterring Damascus and Tehran since it is all too obvious that Ankara does not really want to go to war. Ankara would be well advised to change course, exploring the possibility of a truce with Damascus, with the two neighbors agreeing on a reciprocal cessation of support to their respective insurgencies.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkish and U.S. officials have finally begun to contemplate the Syrian endgame. Both governments would like to avert further civil strife and achieve a rapid transition to a stable and prosperous Syria under a new government. They also want to prevent extremist groups from exploiting the chaotic situation to break Syria apart or transform the country into a terrorist safe haven. Yet, neither Turkey nor the United States is prepared to send large numbers of ground forces to Syria to attain these goals, increasing the likelihood of post-Assad civil strife in Syria with adverse consequences for neighboring countries.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey would make a significant contribution to the resolution of the Syrian crisis if it could bring itself to rise above the sectarian considerations that have dictated its regime change policy in Syria. So far, however, Turkey’s intervention in the Syrian civil war has demonstrated how Turkey’s lack of “democratic depth” disables a constructive foreign policy in the service of stability and democratic reform in a region that was supposed to be Turkey’s “strategic depth”.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
After Syria’s downing of a Turkish aircraft over the eastern Mediterranean, the question is not so much why Syria shot it down as why the two neighbors have become embroiled in a confrontation in the first place; more precisely why the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey decided to commit itself to bringing about regime change in Syria, by which it assumed significant risks. That choice speaks of the impact that sectarian reflexes is increasingly having on Ankara’s foreign policy. What beckons enticingly for Turkey’s ruling Sunni conservatives is a pro-Turkish “Sunni crescent”, stretching from Gaza over Syria to northern Iraq. However, Turkey courts danger by assuming the role as a leading Sunni power in the sectarian confrontation in the Middle East.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.