Yeni Şafak columnist Akif Emre argues that the problems in Syria are based on sectarian tension. Most of the population of Syria consists of Sunni Muslims, but there are also significant minorities of Christians and Alawites, and the ethnic and sectarian conflict between sectarian groups has intensified. Emre noted that although the conflict in Syria is linked to many players, it is clear the sectarian conflicts have been covertly designed and supported by Iran, a Shiite country that aims to weaken Assad by secretly supporting his attacks against the Syrian people and causing them to revolt against him. “It is more than an internal conflict in Syria. It is also a regional conflict and a global one. Iran’s strategy in Syria is based on strategic and political aims rather than religious motives,” he said. Emre stated that Iran’s strategy of viewing Syria’s democratization efforts as a religious conflict is indeed an ugly one.
The Star daily’s Sedat Laçiner says Assad is playing with fire by carrying out a bloody massacre while talking about elections and reforms at the same time. Assad is stalling and deceiving the UN, the Arab League and the whole world, Laçiner said. “I have said before and I am saying it again, what will happen to Assad is definite; he will be overthrown. But what will happen to Syria is not yet certain,” he said. He added that in this indecisive period for Syria, someone or some countries are whispering to Assad, “Pull Turkey into war and you will be rid of this trouble.” Such a war could help Assad end the internal war, as Syrian people would unite in the face of a war with another country. It seems that Assad is indeed listening to those whispers and is dragging Turkey into a war. But Turkey should not fall into this trap, as it would be too great a burden for Turkey to shoulder itself, said Laçiner. Zaman’s Fikret Ertan also thinks that Turkey should not be provoked by such incidents as the attack on Monday, in which Syrian troops fired across the Turkish border, killing two Syrians and wounding many others. He argues that Turkey should not be without hope regarding the Annan Plan and should wait for the international community to reach a consensus.