COLUMNISTS
MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
Beginning of end for Assad
Opposition fighters penetrated the heart of Syria’s power elite on Wednesday, detonating a bomb inside a high-level crisis meeting in Damascus that killed President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law and the defense minister. Turkish columnists anticipate that the end of the 16-month uprising in Syria could finally come now that the unprecedented blow to the ruling dynasty suggests that those once close to Assad are turning against him.

Erhan Başyurt from Bugün says Wednesday’s attack was a turning point in the opposition groups’ fight against Assad. It is not just because Assad’s inner circle was attacked but because of the fact that such an operation against “the heart of the regime” can be carried out near Assad’s palace. This means the security circle surrounding Assad is getting much tighter, notes Başyurt, adding that Assad fleeing his residence as did former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh indicates that Assad is cornered for good this time. And yet, Başyurt says, let’s hope it won’t be like former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s end, who continued trying to divide the country even after he fled.

Radikal’s Eyüp Can focuses on the sharp differences of opinion among journalists over the issue of the Syrian crisis. For example, if a group opposes the idea of foreign military intervention in Syria, then they are accused of being “supporters of Assad.” On the other hand, when another group wants Turkey to do something against Assad’s brutality against his people, they are accused of being “warmongering imperialists.” Both groups have their own political and moral reasoning. However, Can says as far as he knows there is no one in Turkey who indeed supports Assad or wants Turkey to enter into a war. In short, we have a difficult yet necessary decision to choose either of them, he says.

What happens in Syria does not concern only Syria; it has become an arena where all world powers clash, says Taraf’s Ahmet Altan. He believes there is no chance the dictatorship in Syria can survive, but the question is, when is it going to end? “Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, all of which are predominantly Sunni countries, are the countries that insistently want the Syrian Shiite-dominated regime to end. And so the rest of the world thinks the reason for these three countries being anti-Assad is not to bring democracy to this country but to spread Sunni Islam. This is why as long as Turkey puts forward its Sunni identity, it cannot lead to a resolution of the Syrian crisis, but it will only lead to further conflict,” the Taraf columnist argues.

2012-07-19