As our paper was getting to press yesterday there was still no statement from the Turkish government about the sanctions on Syria. A statement has been expected from Ankara since the Arab League (AL) imposed on its own member, a nine point sanction plan Sunday afternoon (Nov. 27).
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was in that AL meeting in Cairo as an observer and said on his way back to Ankara that Turkey was supportive of the League’s understanding; putting pressure on Assad’s rule in Damascus, but not bringing any harm to Syrian people.Upon his return, he had a meeting with four other cabinet ministers; Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economy Ali Babacan, Hayati Yazıcı in charge of customs, Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım and Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.
Press were told Turkish sanctions would be announced on Nov. 28, yesterday after the approval by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Questions after questions, the Prime Minister’s office made a statement late afternoon admitting that Erdoğan had gastric surgery on Nov. 26, a secret well-kept from media for nearly two days.
According to diplomatic sources, Erdoğan’s recovery might not be the only reason for delay in Turkey’s joining in on the sanctions on the Syria front. Erdoğan wants to buy some more time to measure what would be best in Turkish interests. Neither Turkish Parliament, not Turkish people want to be a part of any military intervention to Syria and without Turkish participation - and presumably with no U.N. Security Council resolution - such an action may cause other tragedies; Iraq is not a far away example.
Yesterday afternoon there was another statement by the French Foreign Ministry. France as the country blocking Turkish integration with the EU most, together with Greek Cyprus, announced that they would like to see Turkey to join their meeting on Syria in Brussels on Nov. 30.
Turkish Foreign Ministry sources said if that was an official invitation by the Commission, Ankara would be happy to see that there was still a strategic look to word affairs left in the EU and would accept the invitation.
That was in reference to diplomatic gossip that France was making it public that they indeed proposed to have Turkey in the meeting, but were vetoed by somebody else, probably Greek Cypriots offended that Turks would not recognize their term of EU presidency. It is interesting to watch this Turkish-French flirt on Syria, particularly visible after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe’s visit to Ankara some ten days ago to meet Davutoğlu.
More interesting to point out is the fact that Turkey is the only country being invited to the Arab League and the European Union meetings on the Syrian crisis, without being a member of either.
Turkey gives its support to everyone in order to avoid a military conflict, especially when it is on her borders, which boosts its role as a regional player, with a description of region getting bigger as well.