Turkey’s position in the conflict in Syria

Geopolitical stakes of civil conflict in Syria , which began in 2011 in the form of anti-government protests , are extremely important for the entire Middle East security architecture . Although for 2 years conflict proved impossible to halt the international actors to use chemical gas in the summer of 2013 the Syrian government against its own people has intensified international efforts to solve the crisis . In this context, Turkey’s security interests would put pressure on its Western partners to overthrow President Bashar al -Assad.

In retrospect , the relationship between Turkey and Syria was marked by several phases completely antagonistic . The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Syria came under Turkish authority , but continued to be a strategic area of foreign and security interests of the young Turkish Republic . The first confrontation between Turkey and Syria dates back to 1939 when the province of Hatay , issued under the French mandate was quickly annexed by Turkey. The territorial dispute has a strong impact even today , when public opinion Syrian province claims . Disputes have emerged during the Cold War , when Turkey became a member of NATO and Syria approached the Soviet Union , the borders between the two countries become real battlefields . This moment can be considered a basis for the current geopolitical situation , particularly the fact that Turkey has adopted a pro -Western , took a pragmatic policy in the region , becoming the bearer of U.S. interests , while Syria was constantly a fierce opposition to Turkish politics .

To demonstrate the antagonistic character of bilateral relations between Turkey and Syria have seen during the late twentieth century , the diplomatic crisis after the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK ) and the apparent imminence of war , relations have improved considerably . The concept of “zero problems with neighbors ” has been successfully applied to Ankara , and topics such as trade , infrastructure and regional policy were discussed at bilateral meetings . Short periods of calm in relations between Turkey and Syria have to end abruptly with the Syrian people demonstrations against President Bashar al- Assad and his passivity in the development of reform. Year 2011 marked the change Turkey’s Syria policy , neutrality , multilateralism and the ability to lead a more defensive strategy in the Middle ended . Since then, Turkey has always supported the Syrian reform , respect for human rights violations by the Assad regime , and with increasing protests and their degeneration into civil war, Ankara has shown willingness to support the movement opposing the Assad regime .

The decision taken by Turkish leaders to support the Syrian opposition consists of two components critical to policy analysis and Turkish interests in the Middle . On the one hand , Turkey has preferred a principled approach , acting to support the Syrian opposition because the incumbent government has decided not to comply with international law and basic human rights. On the other hand , policymakers in Ankara tried to seize the opportunity to obtain a privileged position in gear oriented strategy . To this end, Turkish diplomacy has been directed towards deeper cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Arab League states , their efforts are extremely important, but so far no positive results.

Beyond the complex geopolitical status of the region of the Middle East , Turkey, as a modern, reformed and stronger both economically and militarily , found a big problem in the proximity of the conflict in Syria. The large number of refugees on its territory , the uncertainty has been installed on its borders and thus to NATO ‘s southern border , but that the Kurdish issue pressed heavily on the Turkish government made ​​the choice made is no doubt for stopping conflict Syria and changing the power of Bashar Al- Assad and his faction . Given that leaders in Ankara insists that Western military intervention , and it is still expected , it can be easily seen that as the Syrian crisis is prolonged , Turkey’s interests are increasingly affected .

On the other hand , Turkey’s interests in the Syrian completely divergent from those of Russia and Iran , countries that support the Assad government vehemently against escalation occurs , specifically against Turkish- Western military intervention . In this sense , the clash between Turkey and Iran is more significant in the context of Turkey’s aspiration to become a leader and a model in the Middle East faces strong regional objectives of Iran. With the support of the United States and the entire Western world that make a common front against Iran’s desire to develop nuclear capabilities , Turkey can be considered to be justified in his fight to become the leader of the Middle East , especially as Islamic fundamentalism and traditions Muslims seem to be outdated in Turkey’s regional strategy .

Scenarios can be imagined about the future of the Middle East and Turkey’s role in this architecture are many, but taking into account the very high interest of great powers is difficult to offer viable prospects . Following recent developments , despite the fact that Turkey is a strategic partner of both the U.S. and the UK , its interests have faded wooden face of Russian diplomats . Even if there is a state strong enough to achieve goals independently , Turkey continues to be an emerging power that will play an important role in the Middle East.


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