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Syria Crisis : Where does Turkey Stand?

17th September 2013

So it seems the game might be up for President Assad and his forces. Recent reports have revealed pending intervention from the UN as well as from the Obama administration.

Turkey has been a close ally of the United States but its stance has taken a different position in recent days. It has vexed its political muscle amid deep resentment for a very limited strike on the regime in Syria. 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vented his anger on his NATO chums thanks to their so called indecisiveness. Furthermore, he has called into question their targeted campaign on the Assad regime and instead requested a more Kosovo style approach.

 “Where is the West? What is it doing? Only talking?” Mr Erdogan said this week. In addition, he was very doubtful about a so called hit and run attack over the space of 24 hours. 

The Turkish PM is a vital cog when it comes to the Syrian conflict but what impact might this have on Turkey itself?

Firstly Turkey shares a border stretching more than 800km with Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey also possesses the second biggest army in NATO.

Yet Erdogan is in a bit of a pickle currently as he has on the one hand campaigned pretty vehemently against Assad but Turkey is certainly vulnerable to possible spillage effects from Syria. 

This means there is a strong possibility that many Syrian refugees may spill over into Turkey in the coming weeks. 

At the moment the amount of refugees who have fled Syria stands at more than 2 million. In this way, there are potential hazards for the Turkish PM moving forward with Syrian already spotted in many towns such as Reyhanli.

“In general, Turkey finds itself in a very difficult position. That is why we are very vocal and active when it comes to Syria…even without any operation, we are already vulnerable.” added a Turkish official.

When examined further, Turkish problems are mounting up. They already play host to more than 500,000 refugees from Syria. 

Nearly half of these are in camps run by the authorities, whilst around 300,000 are in a number of different towns across Turkey.

So far nearly 10,000 have actually come across the border in the last seven days as Turkey attempts in vain to reduce numbers. 

Unfortunately it has also had regional complications for Turkey as just last month they ordered natives to avoid Lebanon after the kidnapping of two Turkish airline pilots.

The proposed strikes on Syria are even affecting the Turkish economy where the lira struck a record low in the last few days against the dollar before recovering slightly. 

Yet the Turkish PM is torn especially with his people who are wholeheartedly against any Syrian intervention, in spite of when he pushed for a no-fly zone in the war torn country.

Mr Erdogan has stated Turkey might be willing to participate in the international coalition, but it is not likely to play a major role.

Nonetheless its position on Syria is founded on peaceful values as reported by the Anadolu agency. Its Defence Minister observed that countries have actually appealed to Turkey in order to assist with Syrian refugees and provide aid in a host of other territories. 

With clashes continuing for more than two years, there seems to be no hold up yet in this devastating conflict. 

Written by Simon Lazarus


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