June 17, 2013 | Quote

Could Protests in Turkey Hurt US Effort to Arm Syrian Rebels?

Now that the U.S. is moving toward arming the Syrian rebels, American allies in the region will play an increasingly important role in the coming months. But some of those countries have their own security issues that could hamper that effort.

Turkey is currently dealing with violent protests in Istanbul that have grabbed international attention and disrupted daily life, while Jordan continues to face a burgeoning number of refugees from Syria. Both of those conflicts could present roadblocks to U.S. plans.

After weeks of violent protests in Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would halt redevelopment plans opposed by anti-government protesters, hoping that the demonstrations that have claimed five lives will calm down. Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said these protests are not likely to harm the Turkish effort in Syria.

“Clearly the stuff that's happening in Turkey is taking up a lot of time and attention of the government there, but at the same time, the Syria situation is a high priority for them,” he said.

During the protests, Turkey continued to host meetings between Western countries and leaders of the rebel Free Syria Army. And though the Erdogan administration had to mobilize its military to combat the violent protests, Badran said that any Turkish effort in Syria would primarily be providing logistics and intelligence information to rebels across the border.

The Turks have also been able to secure several border crossings for Saudi and French weaponry to cross into Syria.

Read the full article here.


Syria Turkey