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.

Published in Articles
Monday, 27 August 2012 12:18

Turkey and the US Ponder Syrian End Game

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.

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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”.

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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.

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By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has just completed a well-timed visit to Washington. Although many issues arose during his multi-day rounds of meetings with congressional and executive branch figures, the topic that invariably drew the most attention in public, and likely in private, was what to do about Syria now that the diplomatic initiatives have been exhausted. Turkey and the United States have been aligning their policies toward Syria throughout the crisis, and Washington expects Turkey to assume a leading public role in any future initiative in its southern neighbor. Yet no specific new initiatives were announced by either party during Davutoğlu’s Washington visit. As has been indicated by Turkish and U.S. diplomats, the U.S. and Turkey prefer to consult with other governments also seeking a firmer stance toward Syria before committing to a concrete action plan.

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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.

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