News / Middle East

    Turkmen Seeking Refuge From Syria in Turkey

    FILE - Syrian Turkmen at a makeshift refugee camp some kilometers away from the Syria-Turkey border, Apr. 23, 2013.
    FILE - Syrian Turkmen at a makeshift refugee camp some kilometers away from the Syria-Turkey border, Apr. 23, 2013.
    Dorian Jones

    There are a growing numbers of Turkish nationalists fighting with Syrian Turkmen, as Syrian forces backed by Russian airpower step up their operations against the Turkish minority.  Growing numbers of Turkmen are now seeking refuge in Turkey to escape the fighting.

    Last week, thousands of Turkish nationalists turned out for the funeral of a senior member of Turkey’s National Action Party or MHP, who was killed fighting with Syrian Turkmen.  

    Political consultant Atilla Yesilada says growing numbers of nationalist Turks are being drawn to the conflict.

    "The way the Assad armies and Russians are treating Turkmen is nationalizing the problem.  Its the Pan Turkish issue, MHP thinks whether Turks live in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan or Syria, they belong to the same homeland so they go to the defense of homeland, they go to the defense of their kinsman.  They fought in Bosnia as well," said Yesilada.

    Since Syrian Turkmen forces killed a Russian pilot shot down by Turkish jets in November, military operations by the Syrian regime forces backed by Russian airpower has intensified.  

    But Political columnist Kadri Gursel of Al Monitor website, says the Turkmen are key part of Ankara’s efforts to overthrow Syrian regime of President Bashar Al Assad.

    "Sunni Turkmen were Ankara’s natural allies in a strategy to topple the regime.  They have armed and organized  Sunni Turkmen battalions, baptized to the names Ottoman Sultans, which were famous for their Ottoman Islamism, Sunnis.  They have created a perception which, all Turkmen were the allies of Ankara.  Turkmen will be the biggest losers of this Syria policy," said Gursel.

    Thousands of Syrian Turkmen are fleeing to Turkey in the face of a series of victories by Syrian regime forces.  The Russian foreign ministry in a statement Thursday claimed it had detected secret preparations by Turkish forces to intervene into Syria.

    But political columnist Gursel says the risks of such an intervention makes it unlikely.

    "If they decided to invade Syria, to defend Turkmen, Ankara will be bogged down into a quagmire, with no exit strategy.  And they will be not only one adversary there.  There are Kurds, there are Syrians, there are Russians, even Iranians, and also ISIS.  I think it is not a defendable position," he said.

    But observers says the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is famed for doubling down in high risk confrontations, especially after investing so much political capital supporting the Turkmen, whose defeat could ultimately symbolize a wider failed Syrian policy.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    February 04, 2016 11:28 PM
    The true Turkish homeland is the Mongolian Steppe in Central Asia.

    The Turks and Turkic tribes can always go back to where they came from, the Mongolian Steppe.

    Turks are not native to Anatolia (called Turkey nowadays).

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora