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Turkey Faces 'Lose-Lose' Situation Over Syria

Without a change in its Syria policy, it will be impossible for the Erdogan government to pull out a win, writes Semih Idiz.
A Free Syrian Army fighter and a boy hold up weapons on a street at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey, April 23, 2013. Picture taken April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT SOCIETY) - RTXYY7Q

As the Syrian civil war enters its third year, evidence is mounting that it will be difficult for Turkey to surgically extricate itself from the crisis while retaining any advantages gained. The chilling statement by Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on May 1, as reported by Al-Monitor’s Ali Hashem in Beirut, not only raises the stakes for Ankara, but also suggests that Turkey could face animosity in a region where it once hoped to play a stabilizing role as a soft power.

A number of analysts in the region believe that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s approach to the Syrian crisis has put paid to Ankara’s desire to be an impartial regional force for good. Turkey has not only been a strong supporter of the Sunni-led Free Syrian Army, but also of radical Sunni groups, like the al-Nusra Front, which aims to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through military means and which Shiites increasingly view with fear and enmity.

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