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Erdogan, the strongest leader in the Mideast [View All]

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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 08:51 AM
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Erdogan, the strongest leader in the Mideast
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The thousands of refugees who fled Syria in the past week are providing Erdogan with an opportunity to determine the fate of Syria.
By Anshel Pfeffer


ISTANBUL - Although the party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan was unable to win enough seats in parliament to change Turkey's constitution without taking into account the opinion of the opposition, Erdogan is still the happiest leader in the Muslim world. After this week's elections, he is the sole leader in the area who knows, with near certainty, that he will be in power for another four years.

The political earthquake in Arab countries has yielded additional unexpected benefits for the Turkish prime minister. In the short term, the thousands of refugees who fled Syria in the past week created a logistic and humanitarian headache for Ankara, and may even be increasing fears of renewed tension with the Kurds. However, they are providing Erdogan with an opportunity to determine the fate of Syria.

The regime in Damascus, in the first three months of the revolution being fought against it, contained events within the country's borders. It cut off Western media and expelled their correspondents, greatly undermining the ability of the few opposition groups - inside Syria and in exile - to close ranks against the government and to begin to offer an alternative to the Assad dynasty.

Ostensibly, Erdogan is cooperating with his friend in Damascus by shutting the refugees into camps along the border and preventing them from having contact with journalists, who are hungry for firsthand testimony about the bloodbath in Syria's rebellious towns.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/erdogan-the-strongest-leader-in-the-mideast-1.367992
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