MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK

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MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
October 08, 2012, Monday

Stalemate in Syrian crisis

After last week’s deadly shelling in northern Turkey by Syria, Turkey sanctioned further military action against Syria and bombarded targets across the Syrian border with artillery.

Although both countries moved to calm tensions, the Turkish Parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing the military to conduct cross-border operations into Syria, raising the question and fears over whether there will be a war with Syria soon. Most of the columnists think not, but depending on the developments in Syria and other countries’ stance, a war with Syria is not totally out of the question, as almost everything is possible on the slippery ground of the Middle East, they argue.

“Whoever I meet of Turkish origin nowadays comes up and asks: Do you think there will be a war between Turkey and Syria? But there is not an answer of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this question,” Radikal’s Cengiz Çandar writes in his article. He says the Turkish government is doing all it can not to be involved in a war with Syria by itself and it has adopted a policy of deterring Syria, but considering the fragile and slippery ground the Middle East, and especially Syria, is standing on, the probability of entering into a war is not to be made light of.

 “Bashar [al-Assad] has lost control of the country now. Most of the country is not under his control and rule. But on the other hand, he is not stepping down as he gets support from Iran and Russia. Meanwhile, the opposition groups in the country, which are large in number, can in no way be defeated or repressed. But on the other hand, they don’t have the weapons to defeat the regime soldiers, nor do they have a strong structure to replace the regime. The opposition cannot defeat the regime and it cannot be defeated either. And the same goes for the regime. It is kind of a stalemate situation in a chess game. And the suspense and obscurity of this situation will surely affect Turkey further,” he says.

However, according to Çandar, the only scenario in which Turkey will launch a military intervention in Syria is if, or when, Kurds in Syria establish an autonomous administration in northern Syria.

Adem Yavuz Arslan, a Bugün columnist, on the other hand, says that when one puts the pieces of “this Syrian puzzle” together, it seems clear that Turkey is being dragged into a war by some Western countries as well as Syria. While the rest of the world is dragging its feet to intervene in the Syrian crisis, Turkey is pushed to intervene through its legal right to defend itself. It would be “too well-intentioned” to argue the opposite, Arslan believes.

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