Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Does Turkey Want Regime Change in Syria?

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012   No comments

by Halil Karaveli 

 The downing of a Turkish RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft in late June brought Turkey and Syria to the brink of war. Following the statement of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the rules of engagement of the Turkish military have been changed and expanded, Turkey has deployed two armored brigades and positioned antiaircraft batteries along its Syrian border. Turkish F-16 fighters scrambled to chase away Syrian assault helicopters, which were within four miles of the Turkish-Syrian border on several occasions during the first week of July.

 Observing that a "new Middle East is about to be born," Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently stated before the Turkish parliament that "we will be the owner, pioneer and the servant of this new Middle East." The Turkish government must act in a way that matches such rhetoric, but that in turn risks inviting a dangerous escalation of the Syrian conflict. Turkey has committed itself, in concert with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among others, to bring about regime change in Damascus. It has allowed the Syrian opposition to set up headquarters in Istanbul, and it is arming and training the Sunni rebels. Turkey's main weapon in its escalating confrontation with Syria consists of giving more support to the rebels, something that foreign minister Davutoglu hinted at when he assured that "we are determined to continue to support the Syrian people." 


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