Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Turkey And Syria: Most Tension Since 1998 When Turkey Put Troops On The Border

Turkey has been telling Syria that it needs to institute reforms in the face of protests that continue despite soldiers killing at least 1,000 unarmed protesters.

Now, Turkey is growing more irritated: They are reacting to the Syrian refugees crossing the border into Turkey:
Turkey’s growing impatience toward next-door neighbor Syria over Damascus’ failure to implement reforms has not only shaken the country’s reputation as a mediator in the Middle East, but also recalls an event 13 years ago that brought both states to the brink of war.

In October 1998, Turkey continuously condemned Syria for aiding the outlawed PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party) and sheltering its leader within its borders. Turkey deployed its army to the countries’ shared border. The tension was eased by the Adana Agreement, signed by both parties when then-Syrian President Hafez al-Assad agreed to cease all support for the PKK and expel its leader.

Although relations between the two countries have been amicable for the last decade, the recent government crackdown against the uprising in Syria and the stream of Syrian refugees flowing into Turkey has caused it to change its diplomatic tune.
There are indications of a Turkey-Saudi Arabia alliance. Maybe that is what is motivating Turkey's increasing criticism of Syria. After all, Syria is an ally of Iran, which the Saudi's see as a threat. By the same token, there are indications that Turkey is try to reclaim some of its former glory--and Iran, with it's growing influence, would be an obstacle to them as well.

Instability and tension continues in the Middle East--and Israel is not involved.

But don't tell Obama.

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