Sunday, July 08, 2012

Tisdall on Turkey -

Simon Tisdall's piece, "Turkey Learns who its real friends are", is abysmal. So we are to understand that Turkey is not intervening in Syria because it's weakness has now become apparent? Or that it's foreign policy strategy is a failure? That is utter rubbish. Turkey's army can be in Damascus in six hours, and Assad knows that. Abdullah Ocalan is in a Turkish cell today precisely because the Turks had given Assad's father an ultimatum in 1998 - give up Ocalan or we will attack. If Assad's father, Hafez, didn't want to wake the Turkish war machine, then his politically inept son is even less likely to do so. For the love of all that's good, what would have compelled Assad to immediately say he wished the Turkish plane had never been shot down, and that he had no issues with Turkey as a people or a military? This was not the sound of a man who thinks Turkey is a weak country. I've never, in his eleven years of rule, seen the Syrian foreign ministry, let alone Assad, come out with statements so emphatically apologetic.

If Turkey is not responding immediately, or at all, to the shooting down of one of its jets, then that is a sign of restraint. The silence of the Turks should not be mistaken for inaction, and Tisdall isn't the only one who has made this mistake. I will state again and again, that Syria's political compass is going to start shifting from Tehran to Istanbul. Watch this space.

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