06-08-2011, 01:50 PM
The conclave at Antalya was entitled "Change in Syria". Ankara would go ballistic if a neighboring country did to it such a thing. . . . Assad, too, seems to be signaling to Ankara that this is a game both can play. He has invited representatives of those Kurdish parties that were kept out of the Antalya conclave to visit him in Damascus over a cup of Turkish coffee. Invitation has been extended to 12 Kurdish parties, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (which, incidentally, has a Turkish branch) and the Democratic Unity Party. These parties have been historically kept at arm's length by Ankara. . . . Alienation runs deep among the Kurds in eastern Turkey and if Kurdish nationalism rears its head from safe havens within Syria, Turkey can easily anticipate its own house catching fire. So, the question remains: why is Turkey playing with fire? A variety of factors are working on the Turkish mind. First and foremost, Saudi Arabia's influence is conditioning the Turkish thinking toward the upheaval in the Middle East as a whole. Al-Arabiyya Television, which is Saudi-backed, has been consistently critical of Assad and gives big coverage to the Syrian opposition. "Green money" is a powerful tool for the Saudi regime to influence the Turkish elites. Turkey seeks investments by the wealthy Arabs, who are also unsure about the policies of the Western countries.