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                                        Volume. 11709

Where is Turkey really heading?
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Since coming to power in 2002, Turkey’s ruling AKP party’s main policy has been to maintain zero tension with its neighbors. However, the crisis in Syria and Turkey’s alignment with the United States and reactionary Arab governments have intensified Ankara’s problems with its neighbors, including Iran and Iraq. 
 
Turkey supports NATO’s policy of eastward expansion and describes it as a tool for protecting democracy and free markets. This has been one of the main reasons regional governments are suspicious about Turkey’s foreign policy objectives. Ankara’s decision to station the NATO anti-missile system on the border with Syria created a major security threat for Iran, Russia, Iraq, and Syria. The system is a continuation of the radar system that the United States provided to Israel, which was originally designed to counter potential threats from Iran. 
 
Meanwhile, Ankara is edging toward a direct confrontation with Iraq, and Turkish officials recently announced that if a war breaks out between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Turkey will support Kurdish peshmergas. Turkey is encouraging the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to retreat from southern Turkey and enter the KRG, a move which is being strongly criticized by Baghdad because it paves the way for a military confrontation between Baghdad and the Kurds. 
 
At the beginning of the crisis in Syria, Turkish officials predicted that the Syrian government would fall in six months. However, after more than two years of massive efforts by Turkey and its allies, the rebels have failed to gain effective control of a single square meter of Syrian territory. Even the numerous allegations claiming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons were unable to topple him. 
 
The recent double bombing in the Turkish town of Reyhanli was another plot devised by Turkey and Israel to weaken the Syrian government and facilitate military intervention. This shows that Ankara is ready to do anything to escalate the crisis, even kill its own citizens to realize its dreams for Syria. So, where is Turkey really heading?
 
Ali Qaemmaqami is a political analyst and an expert on Turkey based in Tehran. 
 
This article originally appeared in Persian on Khabaronline.ir on Saturday. 
 
MS/HG

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