Thursday, October 11, 2012
The events from last week hardly constitute Turkey’s first involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria. In June of this year, Syria shot down a Turkish jet, claiming it had violated Syrian airspace. The incident, which resulted in the death of the two Turkish pilots flying the plane, led to a round of recriminations between Ankara and Damascus, as well as between Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party and the opposition Republican People’s Party, which has sharply criticized Erdogan’s handling of the crisis that has been unfolding to the south of Turkey’s border over the past eighteen months. Garnering fewer headlines, meanwhile, has been Turkey’s support for Syria’s opposition. Since fighting broke out in Syria last year, Istanbul has emerged as a hub for Syrian opposition figures as well as for British and American officials funneling aid to them.