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 Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

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