Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Erdogan & Davutoglu's 'nightmarish prospect': Assad remains in power!

'Istanbul ... today' 
"... The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has effectively been forced to put Syria on the back burner as it tries to quell domestic turmoil at a time when the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been making serious headway, with assistance from Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, against opposition forces backed by Turkey.Those forces are now said to be in a state of disarray — much to Ankara’s disappointment and consternation ...  With Assad now said to be rallying his forces for a move on Aleppo, and the chances of the US-Russia brokered Geneva II conference rapidly evaporating, Ankara has hardly any choices left but to go into defense mode and try to protect itself against more negative fallout from Syria.
It is not hard to imagine, therefore, that just like the Assad regime and the predominantly Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad — which is also at serious loggerheads with the staunchly Sunni Erdogan government over Syria and other issues — Tehran should also be gloating over the latest turmoil in Turkey.
On the pragmatic side, it is also clear to Iranian policy makers, who have made the continuation of the Assad regime a strategic imperative, that the turmoil in Turkey has also diminished Ankara’s influence in rallying support for the Syrian opposition....
Put bluntly, Erdogan and his overreaching foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, are now faced with what for them is a nightmarish prospect: that Assad — with help from Iran, Hezbollah, the Maliki government and Moscow — may remain in power in a Syria, which will then look on Turkey as one of its arch enemies.
This is certainly not what Erdogan and Davutoglu expected when they unleashed their vitriolic campaign against Assad and his regime and started providing assistance to the Sunni-led Syrian opposition. Put another way, Turkey is now faced with the option of intervening in Syria in order to counterbalance the Shiite/Alevi advances, or toning down its policy against the Assad regime.
Intervening unilaterally in Syria, given that for all the talk in Europe and the US about arming the opposition, the West appears unlikely to ever do so, is clearly out of the question for the Erdogan government ...
This leaves the Erdogan government with only defensive options, especially after the twin car bombings in Reyhanli on May 11 that killed 52 and which showed an already wary Turkish public how the Syrian crisis can spill over into Turkey....
Meanwhile, the brutal manner in which the Erdogan government treated the Gezi Park demonstrators and their supporters around the country is also being critically scrutinized by secular democrats in the region, and especially in Egypt.
Writing in The Egyptian Gazette on June 8, Mohssen Arishie pointed out that Islamists in both his country and Turkey “have, under the sleeve, the same clichéd accusations and rhetoric against the opposition to pull out when anti-government mass demonstrations unfold down the street.”
Indicating that Erdogan is branding the Turks denouncing his policies as "vandals," Arishie turned the tables on Turkey — which was once a model for the Middle East with its secular democracy — and said, “It is unfortunate that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is walking in the footsteps of Erdogan’s government.”
Many Turks would see it the other way around, of course, not that it makes much difference either way."

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