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YUSUF KANLI

yusuf.kanli@hurriyet.com.tr

YUSUF KANLI > Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and beyond

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Irrespective of how much we bury our heads in the sand like ostriches, we fool only ourselves: Turkey’s foreign policy is a shambles, and stinks very badly. What started as a “zero problems with neighbors” strategy has become a “no friends in the neighborhood” strategy. Such has been the outstanding success of the academic foreign minister since he was elevated from “chief advisor” to his cabinet position.

This is no longer a secret, although Turkey continues to officially deny it: The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is headquartered at a Reyhanlı camp, provided by Turkey. The Turkish government wants Turks to act like ostriches, turn their heads in some other direction and not read the reports in the Turkish and international media, including statements from the Syrian former officers and generals who are now heading the Syrian rebel army that they are thankful for the assistance Turkey has been providing them with. They are being trained at the Reyhanlı rebel headquarters by Turkish officers. The camp is under tight security; even foreign diplomats have no access. Somehow, rebel Syrian commanders are giving media interviews in the nearby town of Reyhanlı, however, and revealing all the details that the Turkish government has been trying to hide from Turks.

Can it serve any good purpose to provide missiles to the Syrian rebels? Who are they? They are the people who are killing captured Syrian soldiers even more brutally than the dictator they opposed. Scenes of summary executions by the rebel army are pouring out of Syria. But still, they are the good terrorists, as preferred to a bad dictator, who was a “brother” worthy of co-chairing joint cabinet meetings just yesterday.

Everything that has been happening is part of a far bigger plan, which when completed will have some very serious effects on the altered borders of the entire region. Of course increased terrorist activity in Turkey is one price of its active support for the Syrian rebels. The government may continue lambasting everyone who criticizes it. Turkey may as well declare Syria’s alleged support for the separatist terrorist gang [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK] a casus belli. Syrian support for the separatist gang, though nothing new, would not be a sane development, but wasn’t it [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan who loved the Arabic proverb “Man dakka dukka” (If you knock on doors, they will knock on your door also) so much?

Now Turkey has been “trying to convince” the Americans that there is need to establish a “buffer zone” in Syria, because Turkey can no longer afford the burden of the refugee camps. In the absence of a UN mandate, wouldn’t that buffer zone in fact amount to an occupation of Syrian territory? Wouldn’t that be the first step in turning the Syrian crisis into a regional war?

What do we want in Syria? A pro-government pundit was saying on television that only Turkey has a Syria strategy, no other country, including the U.S., has a policy on developments there. Really? What is that policy?

Turkey has long been a party to the Syrian crisis, which at this point can only be prevented from turning step-by-step into a regional war by a miraculous development. For some time Turkey has been fuming over the Iranian chief of staff’s statement that “Turkey will be next.” That statement was of course incorrect: Next will be Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, and beyond, all together.

August/24/2012

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Blue Dotterel

8/26/2012 8:06:50 PM

That "Turkey will be next" is certain. The Western media is already hinting that the PKK did not kill the people in Gaziantep. If not the PKK, then who? Is the gov't killing its own people? Do not be surprised if the lies the AKP have been spreading against the Assad government on behalf of Turkeys "allies", start to be used by its "allies" against Turkey. This is the "far bigger plan" in US foreign policy. Turkey is falling into the trap. Where is Ataturk when you need him.

ilker avni

8/24/2012 8:38:58 PM

@ Ismail Hijazi Well said,Iran is the main sponsor of terro groups around the middle east and beyond,Iran wants to dominate the Middle east,it wants to spread shia doctrin across the Islamic World,Iran calls itself a islamic republic,while arming and sending its national guards to help Assad slaughter muslims his people.Iran has lost all creditablity in the eyes of islam,Nothing it says can be trusted,The leaders fatwa cannot be taken seriiously regarding nuclear weapons.

HAYATTE abid

8/24/2012 7:46:49 PM

Ilker avni. In this case Syria and Irak have to intervene against Turkey because not only it prosecutes kurds but it also doesn't respect the sovereignty of their nations. The EU has to intervene to protect the greek sky that Turkey doesn't respect and so on. Anyway since when the arabs have to listen to the turks. Syria is a sovereign country which make its own decision and I can see you are just repeading what the americans are saying about the chemicals.

american american

8/24/2012 4:39:24 PM

persia was out conquering the world before many others

Shah Hamdan

8/24/2012 4:23:33 PM

Mr. Ismail Israel and India many time plan to launch attack on Pakistan nuclear sights. In one incidence plan was in execution stage. When Pakistan threat Israel to attack if India attack on Pakistan nuclear sights. Iran have stood in way of America and its allies new Middle East plan. In history Iranian have never attacked any neighbor but they have been attacked by them.Its not a religious war but its for pipes and energy resources. Its easy to ignite by religious sentiments.

Ismail Hijazi

8/24/2012 1:35:29 PM

Shah Hamdan, Pakistan has neuclear capability for protection against it's nuclear arch enemy India, and Pakistan is not out threatening it's neighbors all the time. Unlike Iran who is not under the nuclear threat of anyone, and is all the time scheming to dominate the M.E, bully it's smaller neighbors, spread Shia doctrine (even Eygpet which never had Shia nowadays have a movement stored by Iran). Iran is the curse of the region, and a threat to everyone with it's grandiosity complexes.

Rimon Tree

8/24/2012 11:24:13 AM

Mr. Kanli I could not agree more! Far from being a fan of Assad I have repeatedly insisted that one should not trust the rebels either! Its not that Assad is the bad and they in contrast are the good, they are Islamists and will behave as such if they win. AKP might like this, being Islamists themselves and you can see how they turn the country into a religious state again.

Shah Hamdan

8/24/2012 9:52:43 AM

Nice article with pin point accuracy. I would like to add Pakistan in the list too. Pakistan is only Islamic country having Nuclear capability. If America, Israel and west want to stop Iranian being nuclear they want Pakistan to destroy its capability too.

Tamer Aslantas

8/24/2012 9:50:06 AM

Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand, we do! We should all stop with the whole zero problems policy being a shamble because we didn't start the war in Syria nor the problems in Gaza. This policy is not going to work if other nations have a policy like they have, killing anyone who is against my rule (SYR) or take all the land you can get (ISR). And then there is a country like Iran who stirs up the whole region. We already know how anti-TR GRE & ARM is! We are not blind nor mute!

Uri Zakay

8/24/2012 7:08:28 AM

only one question - Who is responsible for Turkey being involved in the Syrian mess ?
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