News / Middle East

Turkey, France Find Common Ground on Syria

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, left, and Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Ankara, Nov. 18, 2011.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, left, and Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Ankara, Nov. 18, 2011.
Dorian Jones

Despite strained diplomacy between France and Turkey, the two nations have found mostly common ground in supporting Syrian opposition.

A French objection to Ankara's bid to join the European Union has severely strained ties between the powers, which have been exacerbated by recent policy differences over Libya.

After meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara on Friday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said both countries agree Syrian President Bashar al Assad's government crackdown is unsustainable and that the time has come for France and Turkey to align Syrian policies.

Juppe said Paris is preparing to submit a resolution to the United Nations Security Council that would condemn Syria and possibly pave the way for increased sanctions. He also said France opposes unilateral intervention in Syria and that any such decision would have to be made by the United Nations.

On Thursday in Istanbul, head of Syria's exiled Muslim Brotherhood called on Turkey to intervene militarily. Both Juppe and Davutoglu said they will oppose such a move unless agreed upon by the U.N.

Davutoglu said Turkey will do everything to stop the bloodshed from the government backlash in Syria, starting first with added sanctions. He said it was premature to discuss military intervention.

Coordinating divergent groups

France and Turkey have provided havens for some key Syrian opposition figures.

Suat Kiniklioglu, former chair of the Turkish parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), says France and Turkey can play key roles in helping Syria's divergent opposition groups solidify.

"The catchword right now is the maturing of the Syrian political opposition," said Kiniklioglu, who emphasized AKP's encouragement of only peaceful resistance. "Obviously [the French] have contacts. We do as well. If these can be brought together to help them mature, to help them organize better, and to get unified around a leadership, that would obviously be very helpful for potential changes that are likely to happen in Syria."

But France and Turkey differ on what to do about the Free Syrian Army, a militia made up mostly of defectors from Syrian security forces. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Syria this week and, according to some reports, receives tacit support from Turkish forces, including the harboring of a top Syrian military defector.

Juppe stressed the need for the Syrian opposition to remain peaceful, warning of the dangers of civil war.

Soli Ozel, an international relations expert at Istanbul's Kadir Has University, says Ankara is taking a political risk by aligning with the Free Syrian Army.

"I find it a very risky position to take, to host the so-called commander of the Syria Free Army here on Turkish soil," said Ozel. "But I understand he is being kept under a very tight leash. Will that change in the future? I don't know. I hope it doesn't because that puts Turkey in really hot water. Do you really want to be hosting an army that is fighting your neighbor?"

For now, France and Turkey are agreeing to move toward sanctions before Syria heads toward what many fear is a path to civil war.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid