HÜSEYİN GÜLERCE

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HÜSEYİN GÜLERCE
October 10, 2012, Wednesday

Possibility of war, Iran and NATO

The Baath regime panicked when the winds of the Arab Spring arrived in Syria. What had happened to Muammar Gaddafi in Libya influenced Bashar al-Assad. As conflict loomed in Syria, Turkey took preventive measures. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made frequent visits to Syria to ensure that it would not become another Libya. He suggested general elections. He was insistent on a solution based on the will of the people. However, the Syrian deep state did not consider leaving; they threw their weight behind Assad and started killing people. Since that time, around 30,000 people have died, while thousands of others have sought refuge in neighboring countries, including Turkey.

Why hasn't the dictatorial administration in Syria fallen? It has not fallen because the US and the EU have remained indifferent to the problem. Turkey did not have this option; it was forced to take action for both humanitarian and security reasons. Consequently, Turkey's faults have attracted attention around the world. But in the end, it was left alone in this matter.

It is also true to say that nobody was supporting Libya, but Syria has been backed by two UN Security Council members, China and Russia. And, most importantly, Iran supplies arms to Syria. Those who criticize Turkey's support of the opposition forces ignore the fact that Iran has been supplying arms through Iraq to the Syrian regime.

We are not fully aware of the alliances and considerations between global actors occurring in the Syrian issue, and the invisible politics have had greater influence than the visible activity in international relations. You cannot know what Israel, the US, Germany, Iran and Syria are doing behind the scenes.

Turkey is one of the most important states in the future of the region and in international affairs, a rising star in the Turkic world and the Muslim world, a key country for the attainment of global peace. If Turkey makes progress, the Turkic world, the Muslim world and also African nations will become more prosperous. This changes the balance in terms of peace in a world suffering from wars, exploitation, hunger and injustice. But do the US, the West, Russia and China want such a balance, with Turkey in a key role?

It has become evident that the American policy of intervention in Iraq was based on a lie: Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons that posed a threat to international security. And what was the result? Iraq fell under the control of Iran. Since that time, American foreign policy, which seems to be waging a war against Iran, has strengthened Iran's position in the region -- and I am wondering if this in fact fulfills the desires of the Israeli lobby, entailing as it does the decline of Turkey in the region. An Israeli or Western intervention in Iran would make Turkey the strongest actor in the region, and the question is whether this is a desired outcome for the rest of the world. With this in mind, a clash between Turkey and Iran over Syria is a greater possibility than intervention in Iran.

The issue is not the removal of the regime in Syria. A power struggle is occurring in the most strategically important region in the world; and the real issue in this situation is the development of plans to prevent the rise of Turkey. Turkey and Iran should not confront each other. Iran should prevent Syria's grave provocations. Syria will not be able to fire a single mortar into Turkish lands without the support of Iran, and Turkey will not retaliate unless Syria fires a bullet, so such a system would eliminate the possibility of a war.

Iran will be responsible if tension escalates due to the provocations of Syria. Those who made sure that Muslim countries (Iran and Iraq) went to war in the past would not hesitate to do the same this time around. We should consider the NATO secretary-general's statement expressing support for Turkey as constructive, but we should also question its sincerity. War is not in the best interests of Iran, Turkey, Syria or Iraq, but stating that you are opposed to war is not an alternative to expressing what it is you do want.

I wish a prime minister of this country had tended to the creation of a national defense industry five decades ago. That way, we would not need the help and support of Israel and the US in the field of defense and in the fight against terrorism.

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