Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Whispers: "Turkey's stand on Syria is showing signs of a "shift."

"... Turkey’s Syria policy involved calculating a foreign military intervention. Although the Erdogan government is adamant that it alone bears the burden of more than 155,000 Syrians staying in border camps in Turkey, and that NATO member countries grant its request for Patriot interceptor missiles, the unpredictable timeline for Assad’s departure increases the risks for Turkey.“Foreign intervention will have disastrous consequences for the region,” said Valeriy Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, on Jan. 16, just as the Russian military wrapped up its biggest naval exercises in the Mediterranean. “Our partners are telling us that these air defense systems will not be used to create any no-fly zones over Syrian territory… Any accumulation of arms, especially in crisis areas, creates additional risks.”
While Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, claimed on Jan. 19 that “Assad’s days in power are numbered,” (Smorgasbord) his statement remains wishful thinking until Assad is gone. And even if Assad’s era comes to an end, that doesn't guarantee an end to the bloodshed.
In that context, last week's visit to Washington by Feridun Sinirlioglu, undersecretary in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, has attracted attention. Informed sources in the Ankara beltway say that two issues need to be separated in discussing Turkey’s Syria approach. “Erdogan has to continue the tough talk on Syria because the catastrophe goes on there, but Sinirlioglu was trying to figure out a way both saving Erdogan’s face for its tough tone [on] engagement, and sorting out a deal between the Assad regime and the opposition.".....
The political whispers in the Ankara beltway suggest that if there can be clear assurances and if Assad shows flexibility on holding power, the Erdogan government can help to facilitate a dialogue with the Syrian opposition to reconsider their position as well. And that is a clear sign that Turkey's stand on Syria is showing signs of a "shift."...."

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