Monday, December 5, 2011

Why Turkey is for ‘regime change’ in Syria

    Monday, December 05, 2011   No comments


Changes in the Middle East that were triggered last year by the Tunisian revolution are continuing to shake the region. The Abant Platform this weekend organized a conference titled “The Future of the Middle East after the Arab Spring,” which has the aim of understanding what this means for the world at large as well as for the region. The roots of the revolutionary changes, its processes and its implications were thoroughly debated with the participation of a range of academics and journalists from the Middle East and the West.

Among the topics debated was the situation in Syria and Turkey’s policy towards it. I think there is confusion about Turkey’s Syria policy. The most expressed criticism raised against the Turkish government was its ever changing policy towards the Assad regime. Only last year the two countries were closely cooperating, building personal ties among its top leaders and holding joint cabinet meetings. Now, critics say, Turkey and Syria are on the verge of conflict.

I think we should be fair. What the Turkish government was trying to do was to help Syria materialize political and economic transformation gradually and in an orderly way. Well before the start of the Arab Spring the Turkish government had been engaging with the Syrian regime to integrate it in international economic and political structures, despite some opposition by its Western allies.

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