Friday, October 5, 2012

Ankara's 'Hidden Agenda' in Syria

[Daily Telegraph] "...Syria might be getting all the blame for firing the first shot in the sudden eruption of hostilities on the Turko-Syrian border, but Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, can hardly claim to be an innocent party when it comes to stoking the fires of a conflict that retains the potential to ignite a regional conflagration.For more than a year now Turkey has been taking a lead role in the campaign to overthrow the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Working closely with a number of Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, ...  In short, the Turks are doing everything in their power to achieve regime change in Damascus, a position that is not lost on Mr Assad.
Whether forces loyal to the regime were responsible for firing the mortar round that killed five civilians – including three children – in a Turkish border village this week is unclear. If Syrian rebels were active on the Turkish side of the border, and the Turkish authorities were doing nothing to apprehend them, then Assad loyalists might have felt within their rights to attack them. The Syrian government, for what it’s worth, denies any involvement and says it is investigating the incident.
Alternatively, amid the fog of war, there is always the possibility that Syrian rebels – or those sympathetic to their cause – fired the round into Turkey as a deliberate attempt to provoke the country and its allies into retaliating....
The uncompromising tone of Nato’s statement, which denounced Syria’s “flagrant violations of international law”, will be music to Mr Erdogan’s ears, ..... But before Nato gets too carried away with committing itself to Turkey’s defence, alliance leaders would do well to consider Mr Erdogan’s less-than-altruistic reasons for seeking a change in the way Damascus is governed.
.... the Turkish leader would be happy to see the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria emerge as the eventual victors of the crisis in that country, a development which would lead to the establishment of a network of Islamist governments – a “Sunni arc” from the shores of North Africa to those of the eastern Mediterranean..."

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