News / Europe

Turks Wary of Government Support for Syria Strike

A rocket launcher is positioned at a military base on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Reyhanli, in Hatay province, southern Turkey, Sept. 5, 2013. A rocket launcher is positioned at a military base on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Reyhanli, in Hatay province, southern Turkey, Sept. 5, 2013.
x
A rocket launcher is positioned at a military base on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Reyhanli, in Hatay province, southern Turkey, Sept. 5, 2013.
A rocket launcher is positioned at a military base on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Reyhanli, in Hatay province, southern Turkey, Sept. 5, 2013.
Dorian Jones
— Turkey's army has deployed anti-aircraft missile batteries along the country's southern border with Syria and the Turkish government has held crisis meetings to discuss the potential fallout from a possible U.S. attack on Syria.  Despite international efforts to stop a strike, Turkey is on edge.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired a meeting of key ministers Tuesday to discuss the possible repercussions of a U.S. attack on Syria.

Ankara has been at the forefront of those governments demanding a strong military response against Damascus for its alleged chemical weapon attack last month.

International relations expert Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University said Turkey's stance makes it vulnerable to Syrian retaliation if Washington struck militarily.

"It’s probably the country which pushes most for all out war against Syria. Observers point out at the risk of retaliation. Syrian army may retaliate by bombarding Turkey; this is the definitely is one of the options in the cards. This may have dire consequences for Turkey, for the region, for Syria," said Aktar.

Last week, a senior Syrian diplomat warned its neighbors, including Turkey, that they may face retaliation if they supported a U.S. strike.

The Turkish army has been sending tanks and soldiers to bolster its forces along the more-than-900-kilometer border with Syria. In addition, a short-range missile base has been built and anti-chemical weapons units have been deployed close to the Syrian frontier.

Still, retired Turkish infantry brigadier Haldun Solmazturk said Turkey remained vulnerable to a Syrian retaliation.

"Syria is no match for Turkey, but it still, in terms of retaliation, it does have the capability to cause some harm and damage to Turkey, by using its artillery, by using its missiles and even by using its chemical weapons -- no doubt about this," he said. "If a chemical attack really occurs, I cannot say the Turkish army is really prepared for chemical warfare. So there is a real risk if any chemical agent is involved in a potential conflict between Turkey and Syria."

Despite Ankara's support for the U.S. strike, polls showed most Turks did not agree.

"We are against all kinds of war, not only Syria, before that Iraq, other countries with petrol oil, the big picture is that. Our politicians made a mistake -- they support America [going] to Syria," said a man in Istanbul.

So far, said Soli Ozel, a political columnist for the Turkish newspaper Haber Turk, Ankara has faced no political backlash for its pro-attack stance. But he said that could quickly change if Turkey were the target of Syrian retaliation.

"Much of Turkey’s politics is determined by what goes on domestically, but the Syrian conflict has really exacerbated some tensions within the country as well. Should there be attacks against Turkey and loss of life, then the mood might change drastically," said the columnist.

Officially, Ankara has not commented on its defense posture vis-a-vis Syria. Neither the Turkish military, which rarely speaks to the media, nor the Ministry of Defense have commented publicly on the additional measures.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid