The Syria Crisis and Turkey

Board of Wise Men
15 October 2014
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While the wave of uprisings, which began in 2011, led to regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, it turned into a civil war between the Assad regime and the opposition forces in Syria. The Syria crisis has not remained within the borders of Syria, and has provoked disagreements at the regional and global levels. The crisis, which turned into a civil war when the Assad regime opened fire on its people after they had taken to the streets in order to call for reforms, has since affected Turkey directly and indirectly. Turkish decision-makers face a serious challenge in the south as the crisis led hundreds of thousands of Syrians to take refuge in Turkey.


The Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies (BILGESAM) has published this report entitled “The Syria Crisis and Turkey”, which aims to make predictions about the future of the crisis, and to present solutions and alternatives for decision-makers in line with the Turkish national interest. The report, prepared by Assoc. Prof. Atilla Sandıklı and Ali Semin, research fellows at the Middle East Research Institute of BILGESAM, was evaluated at the 15th meeting of the Board of Wise Men on 9 October 2012 and is published in line with the opinions and the suggestions of the Board members. 


The report examines the course of the Syria crisis while contrasting its different aspects from the processes that the other Arab countries faced by analyzing political and military structure of the opposition movements which developed against the Assad regime. The report evaluates the Syria crisis at regional and global levels while anticipating its possible effects on Turkey. Finally, the report elaborates four different scenarios concerning the future of the crisis by offering policy recommendations to the decision-makers.


With the hope that this report becomes helpful for Turkish decision makers, academics, relevant institutions and foundations, I extend my special thanks to the research fellow Ali Semin and the retired Vice Admiral Salim Dervişoğlu, who contributed with valuable opinions and suggestions towards the improvement of this report. Our thanks also goes to the members of the Wise Men Board.


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