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Syria Clouds Turkey's Sunny Parade With Iran

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

They were once seen as bitter foes, but friendship with Syria and Iran has become a staple of Turkey's foreign policy in recent years.

Now, however, that approach -- a vital plank of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's "zero problems with neighbors" philosophy -- is under threat, courtesy of Syria's brutal crackdown on antigovernment demonstrators that has killed an estimated 2,000 people in recent months.

Just how far things have deteriorated was demonstrated on August 9, when Davutoglu traveled to Damascus to read the riot act to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in whom the Turks have previously invested much time in cultivating better ties.

Davutoglu carried the message that Assad had to cease the repression, enact urgent reforms and release political prisoners -- or face the same international abandonment as the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

He apparently got short shrift. Syria's state news agency, Sana, carried a report quoting Assad as telling the Turkish foreign minister that Damascus would "relentlessly fight terrorist groups," regime code language for antiregime protesters.

'A Critical Process'

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A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Syria Clouds Turkey's Sunny Parade With Iran

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