By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
A majority of Turks, which include many who support the ruling party, are against any intervention by the country in Syria.
An opinion poll conducted by the Ankara Social Research Centre published this month has found that more than two-thirds of those polled opposed any intervention by Turkey in Syria.
The poll also revealed that a majority, even those who support the Turkish prime minister’s party, believed Ankara should not take sides in the conflict.
But Cengiz Aktar, a political scientist at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, was quoted in “Turksih Weekly” as saying that it comes down to a long tradition of Turks having little interest in foreign affairs.
“Turks don’t feel concerned with that [Syria],” he said. “Like they don’t feel concerned with any similar disaster happening in the close vicinity or far away. They don’t pay attention. They are not interested in foreign developments.”
According to analysts Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is renowned for closely following opinion polls, is likely to be disappointed by the indifference.
Reports also suggest that the opinion poll comes as Erdogan is facing growing criticism from the media and, reportedly, from his own diplomatic corps, that he has misread the Syrian conflict.
“I think Ankara decided to burn bridges too fast too prematurely,” said Sinan Ulgen, a former senior Turkish diplomat who now heads EDAM, the Istanbul-based international affairs research institute.
“It has decided to support the opposition groups–both the Syrian National Council and Free Syrian Army–with the belief it will help Ankara in a post-Assad period. However, it turns out the Assad regime has proven more resilient than initially thought. Now Ankara has to re-engineer a new policy.”
International relations expert Aktar says the prime minister is increasingly frustrated by his Western allies over Syria.
“Unfortunately [he] miscalculated the interventionist will of his partners,” he said. “He became more realistic as he probably tested the will of his partners, especially the Americans and the French. And, as he can’t do it alone, he has toned down his ambitions.”
Turks, in general, are not the only ones with a hands-off attitude toward the Assad government. According to a study by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, a vast majority of Jordanians, Egyptians and Tunisians would like to see Assad step down. But, among those countries, there is limited support for tougher international economic sanctions or Arab military intervention, and very little support for Western military action