Monday, February 27, 2012

"Turkey’s Syria policy will also be more of the same!"

"... What will be the main driver of Turkish policy in Syria? The short answer is the famous phrase “Events, my dear boy” -- former British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s tongue-in-cheek answer when he was asked what was the biggest challenge facing him as a leader. There seem to be four different ways the events in Syria could evolve. I will evaluate the first two scenarios in this article and focus on the other two next week.
In the first scenario Bashar al-Assad manages to muddle through and maintains his hold on power, despite growing pockets of resistance. Bashar’s units continue their crackdown. The rate of killing does not exceed a daily average 15 to 50 people. Damascus makes cosmetic reforms and promises. Under this scenario, which more or less reflects the conditions on the ground today, Turkey’s Syria policy will also be more of the same.
The main drivers of Turkey’s Syria policy will not change. These drivers can be summarized as first, the Kurdish problem at home. Ankara is highly concerned about Damascus and Tehran’s capacity to play the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) card. Second, Turkey is highly reluctant to confront Iran and Russia because of Syria. Let’s not forget that Turkey depends on Iran and Russia for close to 85 percent of its energy needs. Third, Turkey is concerned about Washington “leading from behind” and thus “outsourcing” the bulk of military operations to Ankara. Turkey doesn’t want to “own” the crisis. ... Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will continue to call for Bashar to step down, but Ankara will also seek to maintain lines of communication with the regime by keeping the Turkish ambassador in Damascus. In short, the longer Bashar stays in power, the more Turkey will attempt to hedge its Syria policy. A difficult coexistence will become inevitable.
(Continue, here if you think other 'scenarios' are possible!)

No comments: