News / Middle East

Turkey Unrest May Impact Syria Peace Talks

Turkey is central to U.S. and European efforts to get opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to possibly come to the peace table. But growing domestic unrest in Turkey could complicate Ankara's efforts at Middle East diplomacy.

Turkey is a front-line state in the Syrian conflict.

Turks have been the victims of bombings along the border and host to more than 200,000 Syrian refugees.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been working to unite the Syrian opposition in hopes of getting them to peace talks, which have been put off until at least July.

"Turkey occupies a critical position in the way the Syrian conflict might unfold: whether negotiations were to begin or whether the West, including Turkey, were to agree to take a more active policy in trying to contain the activities of the Assad regime," said Analyst Steve Heydemann, U.S. Institute of Peace.

But now Turkey's attention to the Syrian conflict is being diverted by days of anti-government political unrest inside Turkey.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the domestic backlash will not deter Ankara from its role in Syrian diplomacy. "It’s not the first time any government has faced this kind of challenge," he said. "And I do expect Foreign Minister Davutoglu and the prime minister to remain engaged in the effort to try to resolve what is happening in Syria."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a leading critic of the Syrian regime.

But analyst Heydemann said the longer the war continues, the tougher it is for Turkey to keep backing the opposition.

"Turkey is going through a period in which I think they're feeling a bit of buyer's remorse about the level of support they've provided to the opposition of the past couple of years," he said. "They're beginning to rethink whether their antagonism toward the Assad regime is really paying off for them or not."

Erdogan said there is no going back on Turkey's involvement in inter-connected Mideast crises. "In this region, the issue of Syria, the issue of Palestine and Israel are the problem that need to be resolved, in order to have perpetual peace in the Middle East," he said.

Israeli-Turkish relations suffered three years ago when Israel assaulted a Turkish boat with peace activists taking food and other staples to the Gaza Strip.

Recently Erdogan has criticized Israeli airstrikes on Hezbollah supply routes in Syria, complicating U.S. efforts to improve ties between Turkey and Israel.

"We are not going to tell the Israelis that if they feel a critical security red line in Syria has been crossed they should not act. But if we endorse, even if we endorse tacitly, Israeli action in Syria, it makes it all the harder for Erdogan and for Turkey to sustain that effort to rebuild ties with Israel," said Heydemann.

Even as U.S. officials express concern about the use of force against Turkish anti-government demonstrators, the two countries continue to work closely towards talks on a transitional authority in Syria.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael from: USA
June 07, 2013 9:21 AM
The drawback to the peace-table talk is that it acts as an antagonist to the freedom Assad believes he can have once the war is finished. The problem, of course, is that he destroyed a perfectly good country and must answer to his crime-- I say crime because his actions were not accidental

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs