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Turkey Syria Relations Since 1998 - Research Paper Example

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Name Professor Class 28 November 2012 Turkey - Syria Relations 1. Introduction Turkey and Syria relations date back to the post World War I era. Even though, Turkey was established in 1923 after the war and Syria in 1946, both these countries share traditions linked with Islamic Era under the Ottomans…
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Turkey Syria Relations Since 1998
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Download file to see previous pages The relation in general remained undulating with both countries involved in sabotage and terror activities. The base of this relation was laid with the joining of Hatay Province from Syria to Turkey after referendum under the French mandate in 1939 (Federal Research Division 120). It caused serious anger and revolt in Syrians and this hatred lead to deterioration of relations after the Syrian independence. The relations are made more complicated with each representing different blocks of Islamic sects; Sunni and Shia blocks. The Arabs along with Turkey consist of Sunni majority whereas; Iran and Syria represent the Shia block. Each block is backed by group of countries and strong ties among people are maintained with Islam being the pillar. The relations, however, took new turn in 1998 and a limited period of golden era soon followed. 2. Adana Agreement Adana Agreement was signed in October 1998 and it gave way to efforts for increased cooperation and dialogue among the two countries (Khalilzad, Lesser, and Larrabee 33). Under this agreement, security meetings, hotline, exchange of high level security officials as well as diplomatic missions started. The events that lead to this agreement however, must be discussed to give perspective and insight into current state. 2.1 PKK / Kurdish Nationalist Party Kurds are mainly in the eastern part of Turkey, northern part of Syria and Iraq as well. The total Kurdish population amounts to 22.6 million (Aras 93). They are regarded as ethnic minority but started separatist movement against Turkey in the 1970s. Kemal Ataturk gave very strong fundamentals on which Turkey nationalism is based on. Turks are therefore, extremely rigid on any change in these fundamentals which include one nationality, language and exclusion of religion from governance. These principles by Kemal Ataturk led to the exclusion of Kurds from Turkish society (Sayyid 66). Their language not being Turkish and refusal to abide by Turkish laws for secularism lead to evolution of Kurdish opposition groups and hence the formation of PKK. Kurds are known as the largest ethnic minority and they demand separate land to practice their language, traditions and customs. Kurdish language was banned from schools in Turkey and checks were imposed on public use of this language. Bans were even imposed to restrict distribution of Kurdish songs by 1983 (Yildiz and Breau 11). PKK under these circumstances gained attention among Kurds in Syria and Iraq as well. The movement slowly gained momentum and attacks against Turkish military and state security departments started. Kurdish identity was accepted to some extend in 1991 under Prime Minister Turgut Ozal’s government. The ban on Kurdish language was removed, but its wide public use was still restricted (Eickelman and Anderson 192). 2.2 Syrian Support for PKK The shared border area between the two countries is mainly Kurdish majority area. This shared area provided a buffer for the Syrian governemnt to support Kurdish movement. Safe havens were provided to Kurdish chain of command along with military support including training camps in the 80s and 90s (Larrabee 14). The issue was recognised by Syria as an opportunity to politicise and form basis to start terror activities agaisnt Turkey. Military support provided to Kurds escalated the issue and isolated attacks on Turkish Military and state security increased particularly in this Kurd majority area. 2.3 Syrian Double Role Security ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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