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October 10, 2012, Wednesday

Alone in Syria

Turkey, which has endorsed the uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for the past 18 months, has been engaged in cross-border shelling after Syrian mortar shells killed five Turkish civilians last week.

Turkish columnists largely believe that despite some weak promises, the international community will not get involved in the crisis between the two countries.

“God forbid that the worst-case scenario takes place,” says Star’s Fehmi Koru, referring to President Abdullah Gül’s statement that the worst-case scenario was now playing out in Syria. According to the columnist, the worst scenario is not the situation we are facing right now but the next stage, which is sending Turkish troops to Syria. Koru also says that there is one aspect of the situation that is not being given much thought, and that is what would happen if the Syrian opposition wins the war, he says. Surely the relatives and friends of those killed by the Assad regime or those who suffered at the hands of the regime will want to exact revenge when the Assad regime is over and blood will continue to be spilt on Syrian soil. This is what happens every time a civil war ends, and it will surely happen in Syria, Koru thinks.

As for a suggestion for a solution to end the bloodshed in the country for good, Koru says Turkey could organize a peace conference like the ones that are typically held after wars. But it should not be as insincere as the “Friends of Syria” meeting held in Turkey in April. Only the representatives of the countries that truly support the Syrian people’s will and stand against the Baath regime should attend the meeting, Koru suggests, adding that this would not be an easy thing to do but is still worth a try. Otherwise, the worst-case scenario might come and find us, the columnist notes.

On the other hand, Fikret Bila from the Milliyet daily says the civil war in Syria is not just Turkey’s problem even if the rest of the world acts as if it is. The UN is passively watching the ongoing intense fights in Syria because of its veto-wielding permanent members, Russia and China. And the US and the EU, who seem to be on the same side with Turkey, do nothing other than patting Turkey on the back as the US waits for its election to be over and the EU countries deal with their financial crises. All this tells us that Turkey will find itself alone in a probable war or facing a more critical crisis with Syria.

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