Turkey’s friendship with Syria nears breaking point

By Simon Cameron-Moore, Reuters, Jordan Times.

ISTANBUL -Turkey’s friendship with Syrian President Bashar Assad stood near breaking point as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu prepared to visit Damascus on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to persuade Assad to stop his security forces attacking civilians.

On Sunday, one of Assad’s advisers warned Davutoglu would be given short shrift after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his minister would deliver a “decisive message”, having seen past entreaties to halt the violence ignored.

A Turkish official said Davutoglu would repeat the earlier calls. But the official did not want to venture into what Turkey will do if its words continue to fall on deaf ears in neighbouring Syria.

Still, if Davutoglu returns empty-handed, Erdogan faces the prospect of ditching a friendship he has carefully nurtured over the past decade, leaving Assad more isolated and dependent on Iranian support than ever.

Bahadir Dincer, Middle East expert at the International Strategic Research Organisation in Ankara, said he expected no change from the Syrian government given the comments from Damascus ahead of Davutoglu’s visit.

“Turkey will have to seriously consider its ties with Syria,” Dincer said. “It has been a white page for a decade now, the recent tension turned it grey, and we’ll see tomorrow if the relations are entering a red-page era.” read more

Categories: Syria, Turkey

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