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    Turkey’s stance on the civil war in Syria

    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD07 June 2012 - Okunma Sayısı: 1033

     

    Day by day, the clashes in Syria have been spreading to a larger area and getting more and more frequent. The government is losing control in some places and the number of casualties is getting bigger. A civil war is on the threshold. We may get more tragic news in the days ahead if nothing miraculous happens. Worst of all is that millions of people are now living in fear that they will turn out to be refugees both inside and outside the country.

    The clashes in Syria are transforming from a counter insurgency to a civil war, while changing in character. In such a case, it won’t be surprising to see more bloody clashes, because as they have more civilian casualties, the hostility will be fed more and directed to ethnic and sectarian differences, which would make parties more merciless.

    As in all civil wars where the state loses its authority and legitimacy, from this point on the people will move with instincts of self-defense. People of the same ethnicity and sect will either find and build secure zones for themselves or will have to take refuge in neighboring countries, just like the Kurdish refugees in Iran and Turkey in 1992 or the Sunni Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan. The Sunni Arabs taking refuge in Turkey and Jordan nowadays seem to foretell the future.

    The current developments give strong signals of a possible ethnic, sectarian and religious cleansing. It is not possible to tell in advance how many innocent civilians will be killed. This civil war will cause deep and profound traumas in the coming generations. Moreover, the struggle for democracy and freedom, which started with great expectations and dreams, may cause political and mental fragmentation in these coming generations.

    The shameful fact is that all these are occurring in front of the world with all their naked reality, despite all tragic experiences of the past. Every other day the situation gets worse. The opposition of the Chinese, Russian and Iranian block on one side, and the European Union and United States’ selfish, domestic-centered policies are causing these clashes to get more profound and harsh. Apparently, there is no power available to stop these clashes and end this tragedy. This conflict, it seems, will deeply affect people’s conscience for many years.

    Turkey claimed that this civil war could be stopped through collective initiatives. In the beginning, some countries supported this idea and encouraged Turkey. However, they also reminded Turkey of the fact that they took all responsibility in Libya and said it was Turkey’s turn this time. It was quite a fantasy to expect an acceptance from Turkey to pay all the bills of these complex issues.

    The conflict cannot be taken under control by the efforts of a single country. As the total cost of such an intervention apparently increases, Turkey seems to be less willing than it used to be. The Arab Spring brought about values like democracy and freedom and fed the hopes of people. The Syria case reminds us of the colonial Middle East period when ulterior interests, selfishness and negligence prevailed. I am afraid this tragic situation will generate radical people worshiping violence.

     

    This commentary was published on 07.06.2012 in Hürriyet Daily News.

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