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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More