(MENAFN - Arab News) Turkey is the largest neighbor of Syria and it has a huge influence, especially in its northern regions. The Turks obtained some legal reasons for intervention in Syria to defend their interests and sovereignty, which was violated several times by the Syrian armed forces.
We should not forget that what happens in Syria poses a threat to the security of Turkey, whether the regime remains or leaves. Turkey fears that the Turkish and Kurd separatists might return after it had crushed them. The military operations against them cost Turkey more than 40,000 deaths in the past guerilla warfare. Turkey also fears that terrorist groups might fill in the void that would follow the downfall of the regime. It also fears that, if it survives, the regime may take revenge against it.
When the Syrian defense systems downed a Turkish military plane a few days ago, everybody expected Turkey to take revenge immediately, particularly that it had previously warned the Syrian regime it would not keep silent over the repeated aggressions of its forces across the borders. But Turkey disappointed many people. It has done so before when it made a solemn pledge that it would not allow the continued slaughtering of the Syrian people.
Turkey is a big neighbor. It has huge military might that would enable it to emerge triumphant in any military confrontation. It will find itself very warmly welcomed by the majority of the Syrian people as a savior from a criminal regime that kills dozens of innocent and unarmed civilians every day.
What prevents Turkey from becoming like the US when it freed France from the Nazi occupation? What holds Turkey back from becoming like Saudi Arabia and the US when they liberated Kuwait from the invading Saddam forces? Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan could play the same role played by former US President Bill Clinton in salvaging Bosnia-
Herzegovina and Kosovo. Turkey continually insinuated that it wished to intervene to harness the regime and stop the massacres against the Syrians, but it always seemed scary.
Why is Turkey frightened when it has the military might that will make its victory over Assad's regime an easy task, especially given that his forces are fatigued and detested by the people? The Turkish military strength was well expressed by the former prime minister of Cyprus when he was asked why his country didn't arm itself. He replied: "There is no use. Turkey has enough power to crush us in a few hours."
The reasons behind Turkey's fears, in my opinion, are that the Turks, who fought their last individual battles against the Greek Cypriots in August 1974, do not want to be part of any war unless it is under an international flag. This will not be possible because of the Russian and Chinese veto.
They would also want to go into Syria as part of a NATO alliance similar to what happened in Libya. Again, this will not be possible, because NATO is not interested in fighting Assad. Turkey wants to be part of an international campaign. It is a large NATO member, second only after the US, with a military force of 750,000 soldiers.
Why doesn't Turkey have the will to fight the Syrian regime regardless of what it has done to it and the embarrassment it has caused in front of the public opinion in the region? The Turks, in my belief, are hoping for one of two things to happen: the Syrian regime bowing down in front of the continued uprising that has exhausted it; or the world community, which is sick of its crimes, coming to an agreement to topple it by force.
In the second option, Turkey will be the spearhead and enter Damascus under an international banner. This second possibility is, however, not likely because of Russia, which totally backs the Syrian regime.
Turkey has its own internal fears that any war it wages against Syria will open a hell for it by the separatists or opposing Kurdish and Armenian groups. Externally, it fears that Iran may attack it if it dares to fight Syria. These are, however, weak justifications because Turkey is militarily and economically much stronger than Iran. It will also be assisted by NATO in this case. Secondly, the Syrian regime is actually staggering, despite the solid look Assad is trying to fake.
I believe that Turkey " who has been hesitant for a long time, kept silent on Assad's continued humiliations and disappointed those who thought it to be a brave lion " would ultimately reach a point to drive it to intervene in Syria to protect its interests. The only difference is that Turkey, if it decides to intervene now, will get huge popular and moral support by he Arabs and other communities who abhor Assad's regime.