Under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has lost its proxy war in Syria after being recklessly dragged into it by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Had Turkey emerged victorious — in other words, had the Damascus regime been toppled and replaced by the rule of Syrian Islamists — Sunni Turkey would have been the primary beneficiary. It would have led the building of a new Syria, reaping economic and political gains and consolidating its status as the Middle East’s new regional power and playmaker. It would have basked in the strategic feat of dealing a blow to its Shiite rival Iran’s clout and influence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The AKP’s Turkey based its game in Syria on a big gamble, a feature typical of the foreign policy adventures commanded by Erdogan and Davutoglu. Now that it has lost the war, it should be prepared to live — possibly for a long time — in a turbulent environment of crisis and threats.