Academic praises ‘moral’ Syria policy

Academic praises ‘moral’ Syria policy

Emine Kart ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Academic praises ‘moral’ Syria policy

Syrian soldiers run to take their position during clashes. Mideast expert Hashemi supports Turkey’s Syria policy and stands behind it even when reminded of criticism against the government’s policy for not being flexible enough. AP photo

Political scientist Nader Hashemi seems to be a fierce supporter of Turkey’s Syria policy, as he argues that Ankara’s stance towards the Syria crisis has been consistent with its assertion of being “a moral country.”

“I think If Turkey wants to make the claim that it is a moral country, that it stands for something that is bigger and better than simply on material, wealth, GNP and high levels of economic development, then I think there are unique moments in history when countries are called upon to take risks and to make sacrifices,” Hashemi, of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.

The Canadian political scientist was in the capital city of Turkey last week in order to deliver a speech at the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges Economic and Technology University (TOBB ETU). His visit to Ankara came only days after a crucial May 16 meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Turkey’s policy, which has been widely considered to be too assertive in regard to its unconditional support for the Syrian opposition, has been apparently fine-tuned during the White House meeting. Hashemi stood firm behind his praise for Turkey, even when he was reminded of harsh criticism against the government’s policy for not being flexible enough, a criticism that has been leveled both in the international arena and in the country’s domestic politics.

“I think one has to again emphasize that there are moments in history when crimes against humanity are being committed and where countries have to, I think, stop and think about what the best policy should be for everyone concerned. Cutting and running, giving up and saying look, we are just worried about ourselves, we don’t care about anyone else, while understandable, is not a position that looking back through history, Turks will be proud of,” he maintained.

‘Solution has to be military’

Hashemi, who has a reputation as an expert on the Middle East, believes that there is no diplomatic solution looming ahead for Syria at the current stage and that the solution has to be a military one. A decision for a vital move against the Syrian regime could only take place in Washington, but not in Geneva, he said. “Because they have the military muscle, they have the ability to organize an opposition and they have the ability to make a decision like we saw in Libya. Obama did not want to get involved in Libya, but at the end of the day he agreed to support it. If the U.S. makes that decision, all the different pieces will fall into place.”