TODAY.AZ / World news

Ankara fears Tehran

25 June 2012 [16:52] - TODAY.AZ
Clashes in Syria which have reached a peak are having an increasing impact on neighbouring countries and perhaps some more than others, Turkey which claims to be the regional superpower, feels this influence.

Although Ankara on the first stage of the Syrian conflict has taken a waiting stance, it was later forced to radically change it and relations with Syria which is considered the only way out of Turkey to the Arab world, began to deteriorate.

Most analysts agree that Ankara rushed to make an announcement of its position, but there is an explanation for this. It did not want to be late again, as was the situation with the revolution in Libya. However, even if the events in neighbouring Syria posed a threat to Turkey, for the time it remained unclear whether the world's elite would support the Syrian regime, or would look at what is happening in silence.

Today Turkey almost openly supports the Syrian opposition, but this support cannot be compared with that provided by Iran to Damascus.

After the start of Turkey's support for Syrian opposition, tension arose in relations between Ankara and Damascus and it is possible that it will deepen even more after Syrian air defences shot down a Turkish fighter on June 22 which was making a training flight and, according to the Syrian military, had flown in the air space of Syria.

After the incident, officials in Turkey and Syria made statements. Ankara has said that the downed aircraft was performing training flights in neutral waters, had no weapons on board and for this reason Turkey will take all necessary steps.

In turn, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Syria Jihad Maqdisi told the Turkish media that the Turkish ownership of the aircraft was only found only after it was shot down.

Maqdisi also said that Damascus did not apologise to Ankara for the incident.

Some people expected that after the incident, Turkey would take radical response measures, but at the same time the possibility of direct military intervention in Syria was practically ruled out.

However, the relative calmness of Ankara has another reason. Most of the Turkish political observers do not rule out the presence of a third force that tries to push Turkey and Syria to war.

In fact, Turkish officials are well aware that NATO still does not want direct military intervention in Syria and holds the position of the problem resolution being made by Ankara itself.

However the resolution of this crisis just by Ankara is impossible, not least because a direct military intervention in the processes occurring in the neighbouring country could cause serious political upheaval in Turkey.

On the other hand, the Syrian army is not as weak as it seems. Despite the continuing conflict in the country and even the transition of part of the military to the Army of Free Syria opposition, the armed forces still have not lost their power.

The current strength of the Syrian army 220,000, the country has about 830 combat aircraft, 208 helicopters and 104 airports. Naval forces number 4000.

In addition, it is assumed that some parts where the headquarters is located in the city of Aleppo even have chemical and biological weapons. Of course, it would be wrong to compare the military capabilities of Syria, whose weapons consist primarily of military equipment of Soviet and Russian production, to the military capabilities of Turkey.

But it's not the point. One of the main factors that make Turkey's military intervention in the Syrian crisis impossible is Tehran's position, not wanting to lose the Assad regime as its outpost in the region.

In addition the direct intervention of Ankara in the Syrian case would initiate a Shiite-Sunni conflict in the region with far-reaching consequences. It is for this reason that the military intervention of Turkey in the Syrian crisis is not obviously possible.

Rufiz Hafizoglu /Trend/

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