No sooner than the Turkish parliamentary elections were out of the way, a more robust intervention by the reelected leadership of Recep Erdogan in Ankara in Syrian upheaval has begun. Turkish press has been highlighting a steady flow of Syrian 'refugees' across the border - obviously, building up a case for intervention. For the first time, Turkish government is encouraging journalists to meet the refugees in the 5 camps (less than 10000) set up in the border region. An orchestrated campaign has begun to mould the public opinion against the Syrian regime.
The Turkish officials have noticeably racheted up anti-Syrian rhetoric, including the top leadership in Ankara. Turkey claims it is going to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced people inside Syrian territory and that Damascus has been consulted. No confirmation from Damascus so far, though. A demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy in Damascus last week protesting against Turkish interference has been widely projected in the Turkish media as a hostile act. Turkish nationalist feelings would be aroused.
On Sunday, a Turkish military helicopter crossed into Syria on a reconnaissance mission. The Turkish TV speculated on the possibility that Ankara will create a 'buffer zone' in the border region on Syrian territory for providing shelter to displaced people rather than accept them as 'refugees'. Damascus has alleged that weapons are being smuggled into northern Syria, hotbed of current violence, from Turkey. Interestingly, Iranian media have picked up the Syrian allegation. Meanwhile, Turkish PM Recep Erdogan is planning to visit Cairo and has had consultations with Qatari emir who is, paradoxically, a charioter of the Arab Spring in Libya and Syria although a dictator himself.The heightened level of Turkish diplomatic activism has to be on the basis of some foreknowledge of US strategies in the coming period.