While Turkey has kept a tough stance on the Syrian regime during the country’s spiralling unrest, Ankara is far from ready to wage war on its Muslim neighbour. Hurriyet looks at how Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan might weather the looming conflict.
Slightly more than 10 years ago, on March 1, 2003, the Turkish Parliament failed to approve a motion by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government to allow American troops to use Turkish territory, in order to open another front in the north for the invasion of Iraq.
That was despite the AK Parti’s majority in the Parliament. Almost a third of the AK Parti group joined the opposition in refusing to actively contribute in a war in a neighboring Muslim country. Four ministers of the Cabinet who had their signatures underneath the motion declared afterwards that they could not approve of it; if three of them had said yes, the motion would have passed and the whole course of the Iraq War and the Kurdish issue in Turkey would have flown in a different manner.
The rejection of the motion had a traumatic effect on Turkish-U.S. relations, too. Soon, on Independence Day, U.S. commandoes were to arrest Turkish commandoes working as “observers” in Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdish region of Iraq, accusing of them of being involved in subversive activities by targeting Kurds, who were collaborating with the invading forces. That was one of the lowest points in the history of Turkish-American relations.
Date created : 2013-08-28