By Richard Javad Heydarian
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in 2009
When protests hit Syria, Turkey played a crucial role on two levels. It provided much-needed humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, who flocked to southern Turkish towns. And it vigorously employed all diplomatic channels and political means to encourage a peaceful settlement to the on-going Syrian political crisis. Turkey was arguably the only NATO member with leverage over Syria. Given the intimate and affectionate relationship between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Assad, Ankara sought to utilize its influence to pressure the Syrian regime to move in the direction of genuine reform, reconciliation, and dialogue.
- Foreign Policy In Focus contributor Richard Javad Heydarian is a foreign affairs analyst based in Manila