Turkey may intervene in Syria if violence continues


Turkish officials say an international intervention in Syria has not been ruled out, should Syrian government violence against its own citizens continue.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul sent a letter to Syrian President Bashar Assad Tuesday saying that should Syrian troops continue attacking its own people, the country would no longer be able to count on Turkey as an ally, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

“Up until eight months ago, we were trying to convince our Western allies to give some more time for Assad to implement reforms. We were as friendly as to convene joint Cabinet meetings and lift visas,” an unidentified Turkish official told the Daily News Friday. “But if a regime is not listening to the advice of its friend and neighbor and continues opening fire on its own people, that regime can no longer be Turkey’s friend.”

Another component of Turkey’s waning patience with Assad is Iran’s open support for the country.

“Syria is already ruled by a religious minority that is close to the Shiite majority in Iran,” the official said. “A further escalation of tension might lead to sectarian fights not only in Syria but also in Iraq, and Turkey is naturally uncomfortable, having relatives from all Islamic sects in the region on both sides of the border.”