“Meanwhile, the Syrian quagmire is creating an ever-growing list of challenges for Turkey.”
We’ve reached the sixth year of the Syrian conflict. Destruction, displacement, and violence have reached new levels since the Syrian regime began advancing towards the Turkish border. This only adds to the ever-growing list of challenges for Turkey. The nation is attempting to manage the rising number of refugees, stimulate their flailing economy, and stem migration to Europe. In the case of the refugees, “...their numbers in Turkey have surpassed 2.5 million and the government recently declared it had spent more than $10 billion caring for them while getting less than half a billion dollars from the international community.” This is happening as Turkey finds itself increasingly at odds with US and NATO allies. Turkey also faces a revenge-hungry Russia seeking retribution for the downing of its warplane last November. Moscow has retaliated by imposing costly economic sanctions and banning tourism to Turkey, a significant source of income for Turkey. The Syrian conflict has created big challenges for the international community as well. But Ankara’s challenges demonstrate clearly how becoming deeply involved in the conflict can escalate to the point of military intervention into the Syrian quagmire. However, Ankara’s priority should be too avoid being sucked into a military adventure in Syria. Instead, Turkey must continue to prioritize alleviating the suffering of Syrian refugees and civilians. Such an endeavour would surely win Turkey international recognition for its goodwill and respectable use of influence.