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Turkey looks to join U.S military action against Syria

1 September 2013

Turkey still hopes to join forces with the U.S. and launch a military strike against Syria.

Syrian President Assad has been blamed for launching a chemical weapons attack against his own people. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry has accused the Syrian government forces of killing 1,429 people in a chemical weapons attack in Damascus last week.

Mr Kerry said the dead included 426 children, and described the attack as an “inconceivable horror”.

Despite a ‘no’ vote on strike action by the UK, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity said:

“The Americans, like us, are sure that a response should be given to the use of chemical weapons. We are of the opinion that the U.S. will go into action following internal deliberation.”

The British parliament voted against a motion to make a military strike on Syria on August 29th, meanwhile France has indicated its willingness to take part in military action against Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking to reporters on Aug. 30, made light of the potential impact of the U.K. vote on an international military intervention on Syria.

“These kinds of discussions and the emergence of different voices are natural in democratic countries,” Davutoglu said.

Days after declaring that Turkey would take part in any international coalition that would move against the Syrian regime, Davutoglu warned the international community against consequences if no retaliation was made against the Syrian regime which is accused of using chemical weapons.

No response would encourage certain groups or countries which possessed chemical weapons to use them, Davutoglu said.

“It is the regime’s responsibility without a doubt,” Davutoglu said, when asked about the National Intelligence Service agency report, noting that all technical details concerning the attack proved that it was done by government forces.

“The Syrian regime is responsible for the chemical attack in eastern Ghouta. Current information suggests that the opposition has no such sophisticated weapons,” he said. “Health information which we obtained through our national intelligence sources and our assessments through other sources openly shows from two aspects that the responsible party is the regime,” he said.

Meanwhile, U.S President Obama, has taken the political gamble of presenting a motion for military strike action to Congress, which meets on September 9th.

Arguments in favour of military strike action say that a clear message must be sent to the Syrian government that chemical weapon attacks will not be tolerated by the international community. Those against a military strike say that such a move would hurt the civilian population further. In addition to the 150,000 Syrian dead, there are currently 2 million Syrian refugees, a million of whom are in Turkey.

As some rebel factions have claimed allegiance to Al-Queda, the fear now, is that an attack on the regime would only increase these numbers. Overthrowing the Assad government could potentially lead to an even less favorable regime.

The Turkish leadership is divided on military action, while President Gul favours the diplomatic route and the development of a “political strategy“, Prime Minister Erdogan, keen to topple President Assad, favours military intervention on the scale of Kosovo.

However, President Obama has stressed that Washington was “looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act”, and that there would be “no boots on the ground” or “long-term campaign”.

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