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Re: [alpha] INSIGHT - TURKEY/SYRIA - Turkey's plans for Syria - ME1*

Released on 2012-03-15 20:00 GMT

Email-ID 119786
Date 2011-09-08 20:24:37
On 9/8/11 1:50 PM, Marc Lanthemann wrote:

SOURCE: sub-source via ME1
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Turkish diplomat in Lebanon
ITEM CREDIBILITY: B for the most part - overplays the Turkish Islam card

The Turkish position on Syria is complex. He says part of its complexity
has to do with Erdogan's government's strategy to avoid controversy.
Erdogan wants to avoid making rash decisions he could regret later. This
is why, for example, he is suspending (and not severing) relations with
Israel. the policy of this government is to keep its options open and
also to avoid making enemies. Erdogan wants to create a new image
about Turkey. Turks had won over the centuries a reputation of being
factious, belligerent and blood-letting people. This is the reason why
Turkey's foreign policy is based on having zero enemies. He says that
one side effect of the effort to avoid creating enmities is the slowness
of reaction to changes in the world. When Turkey acts, its decisions
tend to lack steam. Erdogan wants to transform TUrkey into another
Germany and Japan, but with more military muscle to flex.

Contrary to Erdogan's seeming fiery statements on Israel, the
foundations of Turkish-Israeli relations remain essentially strong.
Erdogan will never disappoint the U.S. After all, the U.S. is Turkey's
strategic ally. Turkey does not want its relations with Israel to reach
the point of no return. Erdogan wants to impress Arabs that he is
capable of twisting the arms of Israel and get its prime minister to
accept that Turkey is a distinguished regional leader. Turkey has
interests in the Arab world, and neither the U.S. nor Israel has a
problem with that. In fact, both the U.S. and Israel would like to
encourage the spread of Turkey's type of Hanafi Islam into the Arab
world. Good luck! In Turkey, Islam is a private business for the most
part, whereas in the Arab world it is a public matter. Not true.
Remember Gulen and its rising influence. In Turkey, the state has been
thoroughly secularized, whereas in the Arab world, the clash between the
state and Islam remains intense. At best, Arab secularism is

Erdogan has not yet made up his mind on overthrowing Asad. He knows the
process will be lengthy, painful, bloody and is bound to threaten
Turkey's internal stability. Erdogan is keeping his options open. He
does not trust Asad because he knows he is insecure and politically
crude. In addition, Asad has to answer to his family without whom he
would lose his sense of political direction.

Erdogan's decision to suspend military and business relations with
Israel--in addition to lowering the level of their mutual diplomatic
representation--will be followed up by a similar action against Syria's
Asad. He chose to start with Israel in order to deny Asad the excuse of
claiming that he is acting on behalf of Israel and the U.S. to isolate
his regime. s Erdogan does not particularly care for Asad but he
realizes that Syria is a very difficult country to govern. If
overthrowing Asad could lead to stabilizing Syria, Erdogan would go for
it, but he knows better. Syria after Asad will become a battleground for
the region's country and will have a negative effect on Turkey itself.