Turkey-Syria Border Tension: Three Things to Know

October 4, 2012

Turkey-Syria Border Tension: Three Things to Know
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Turkey’s parliament has authorized the country’s military to take further action against Syria after a mortar attack on Turkish territory killed five civilians. CFR’s Steven A. Cook says the decision is unlikely to lead to war between Turkey and Syria for three reasons:

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  • Turkish interests: While the Turks reserve the right to retaliate against Syrian provocations, they have also clearly indicated that "they are not interested in the Syrian conflict widening," Cook says.
  • Syrian interests: "Syrians don’t want war themselves," Cook says, and they have conveyed that cross-border shelling will not happen again.
  • The Kurdish factor: Turkey is also unlikely to pursue a full-scale invasion of Syria because it could encourage the nationalist sentiments of Syria’s large Kurdish population, and result in violent action by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Cook argues.

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