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Erdogan confronts allies, rivals alike over Syria

Foreign policy experts say Erdogan may dream of leading the Sunni world but Ankara has painted itself into a corner by insisting on misguided policies.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan listens during a news conference in Riga October 23, 2014. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR4BAGC
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, not Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, is calling the shots in Turkey today and is at loggerheads with the United States over the significance of the threat from the Islamic State (IS). He can do little, though, except vent his frustration, as Washington pursues policies in Syria that are at odds with his wishes.

Russia and Iran — two key powers whose influence in the Middle East also outstrips that of Turkey — are compounding Ankara’s complications. Both countries continue to oppose Turkey’s policies, which are predicated on the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In doing so, they have effectively upset Erdogan’s dream of leading the Sunni world, according to Turkish experts.

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