Syrian Refugee Crisis Threatens Turkey's Stability

Oct 03, 2013, 11:40 ET from World Review

VADUZ, Liechtenstein, October 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Turkey is battling to keep control of the growing number of Syrian refugees crossing into its territory, says Professor Dr Udo Steinbach, a Middle East expert. And this situation is paving the way for instability in the country, he writes in World Review, a free-access website that focuses on international geopolitical affairs.

'The Turkish government estimated that, as of September 2013, it had a population of more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, and according to its own estimates, has already spent more than US$1.5 billion on the refugee crisis,' he says. Yet, according to Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, international assistance had 'barely met the absolute minimum'.

'The Turkish administration is worried that the sectarian strife which has plagued Syria since the outbreak of fighting against President Assad in March 2011 might spread to Turkey, with the Syrian government establishing a fifth column among the religious minorities of Hatay, especially the Alawites, in order to destabilise its neighbour to the north,' he says.

Some Turkish residents affected by the influx, are exhibiting strong resentment towards Syrian refugees. 'They are fearful that the refugees will bring their conflicts with them and endanger the peaceful and tolerant coexistence of religious communities,' he adds.

The majority of the Turkish electorate have also expressed their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's policy towards Syria, and are against the military option.

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About the author

World Review author Professor Dr Udo Steinbach is a Middle East specialist who teaches at the Centre of Near and Middle East Studies at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany. He was Director of the German Institute for Middle East Studies, a research institute dealing with the contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia from 1976 to January 2007, before becoming Director of GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES) from February to December, 2007.


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