Turkey should have thought twice on Syria - analysts
TURKEY: Turkey may have acted too fast when it took its tough stance
against Damascus, expecting a rapid fall for the regime, some observers
have argued ahead of a "Friends of Syria" conference in Istanbul.
Now, a number of commentators in Turkey are suggesting it might be
time to think again.
"Turkey had better revise its policy toward its southern neighbour,
ahead of the second gathering of the Friends of Syria group on April 1
in Istanbul, by placing diplomatic efforts in front of all other
options," wrote Serkan Demirtas in the Hurriyet Daily News.
Those other options circulating in Ankara as well as Western and Arab
capitals, run from humanitarian corridors, to a buffer zone in Syria to
accommodate refugees, or even direct assistance to rebels.
Many rebel leaders, including ex-general Riad al-Asaad, are already
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the stakes sharply
on March 6 when he called on Damascus to allow for the "immediate"
opening of humanitarian corridors.
While his words matched international calls from western powers, the
demand lacked substance. It was not clear if Turkey would gear up for
the task, given its 910-kilometre (560-mile) common border.
The creation of a buffer zone is another issue that Ankara has not
been clear on, since it implies sending troops to secure the area.
But it is still on the agenda as Turkey already houses 17,000
Syrians, and its Red Crescent organisation says it is preparing for half
a million. AFP