Turkey and Syria: The Middle Eastern Risks NATO Cannot Ignore
The escalation of the turmoil and violence in Syria, coupled with the tense military confrontation along the Turkish-Syrian border, underscore the marked deterioration of the strategic environment in Turkey’s Middle Eastern and Mediterranean neighborhoods. The Turkish leadership and Turkish public opinion is clearly in no mood to tolerate military threats from Syria. Looking ahead, the most troubling scenario for Turkey may also be the most likely one: protracted chaos and sectarian conflict, leaving a security vacuum across the border, with an ongoing risk of spillovers affecting Turkish security. While both Turkey and the West have had at least ten years in which close cooperation has been optional, today, the highly unstable environment in the Middle East, above all the crisis in Syria, makes Turkish-Western partnership essential for all sides.