GMFUS Report on Turkey, Syrian Opposition, and the U.S.
By: Şaban Kardaş A report titled “Turkey, Syrian Opposition, and the United States: An Unlikely Trio?” was recently published by the German Marshall Fund. Written by associate professor Saban Kardas of TOBB University, the report discusses Turkish-U.S. cooperation in Syria, the Doha agreement and the problems behind supporting new leadership in Syria. Kardas argues that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks criticizing the SNC in October 2012 was a catalyst for the Doha agreement. Her statement that the opposition needed a new leadership structure w not supported by the Islamist groups supporting the uprising because they believed it to be an attempt by the U.S. to take over the Syrian revolution. According to Kardas, this is significant because it illustrates that any new opposition structure that comes out of a process backed by the United States may suffer a legitimacy problem among Islamists in the region. This is especially important for Turkey because reforming regional and international support behind the opposition is necessary for Turkey’s policy on Syria to be successful. If the opposition groups uphold the Doha accord and the U.S. continues to support it, Turkey will finally feel more comfortable that Syria will have a democratic and peaceful future. You can read the full report here.