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The Political analysis of the Syrian crises and the zero-problem policy with Syria

Arslantaş, Şenol
This thesis aims to analyze both the evolution of Turkish-Syrian relations during the period of the AKP governments and the emergence of the Syrian revolt in March 2010. With the popular revolts in many Arab countries starting in December 2010, Turkey’s general foreign policy vision, which had already undergone considerable changes from the traditional foreign policy of Turkey under the rule of the AKP government, was deeply affected by the Arab revolts. With the newly-emerged political and social conjuncture in the Middle East and due to the lack of foresight for any kind of a regime change or the collapse of secular and authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, the vision of zero-problem policy with neighbors did not easily adopt to the radical changes in the region. Nonetheless, the AKP government expected that the Assad regime would remain in power for only a few weeks, since the ruling elite in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya were toppled in a short time. Afterwards, she provided unilateral support to the Syrian National Council, which was later replaced by the Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army by legitimizing her policy through humanitarian reasons. This thesis argues that the confrontation between the Sunni and Shia political entities, due to the rising sectarianism in the Middle East during the Arab revolts, led to the alienation of Turkey to her neighbors and therefore, Turkey’s zero-problem policy with Syria failed.