Turkey has lost patience with Syria, according to Turkish officials quoted in the Hurriyet newspaper, and has issued an ultimatum to Assad
By Zvi Bar’el
Turkey may consider cooperating with international powers in the event they decide to intervene militarily in Syria, according to a report in the Turkish “Hurriyet” newspaper on Saturday
Turkey has lost its patience with Syria, according to Turkish officials, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul has issued an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar Assad via Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who visited Syria on Tuesday.
President Abdullah Gul
According to officials, the Turkish foreign minister made it clear to Assad that in the event that Syrian forces continue to act aggressively against demonstrators Syria will no longer be able to rely on friendship from Turkey.
The Turkish officials told the Hurriyet that “Turkey had initially tried to convince its Western allies to grant Assad time to implement reforms eight months ago. We have been as friendly toward Syria as we could, but a regime that doesn’t listen to advice from its friend and neighbor cannot be a friend of Turkey’s.”
The letter from Turkish President Gul and the leaking of its content to the Turkish media is testimony to Turkey’s strategic decision to deem Assad’s regime as illegitimate, thereby allowing it to move toward an operative stage against Syria.
Arshet Hormozlo, an adviser to the Turkish president, made clear in an interview with the Iraqi newspaper “Zaman” that Turkey will not intervene militarily in Syria and will not allow international forces to enter Syria from Turkish territory.
However, Turkey’s consent to join an international coalition that may launch a military offensive against Syria is a dramatic turning point in Turkey’s stance. Hormozlo’s statement is proof that talks on military involvement have already reached the decision-making stage.
At the first stage, Turkey is expected to withdraw its ambassador from Damascus, following the example of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. The next step Turkey would take is freezing its projects and investments in Syria. Turkey will only take military action against Assad in the event that an international decision to intervene is made.
Turkey is furious with Iran for its criticism of Turkey for its stance toward Syria. Iran called Turkey a “subcontractor of U.S. policy”.
In the event that military action is taken against Syria, other fronts may be opened if Iran decides to protect Assad’s rule beyond sending monetary aid and equipment by way of Iraq. In such a scenario, Iran could open a tactical front in the Gulf, send forces to Bahrain or start large-scale military maneuvers in the Gulf.
See Related: Syria Archive