Bad blood bubbles
Relations between the two neighbours are getting worse than ever
A dangerous spat
After a series of mortar bombs fired from Syria landed in the south-eastern Turkish town of Akcakale, killing five people on October 3rd, Turkey’s government ordered its forces to fire on Syrian military targets. The Turkish shelling, which continued into Thursday, reportedly killed several Syrian soldiers, raising the spectre of a tit-for-tat that could get out of hand. Turkey has repeatedly called on the UN to impose a buffer zone in Syria to protect civilians and, by implication, to give rebels trying to overthrow the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad a haven. This latest escalation of hostilities between the two neighbours makes the prospect of a wider intervention a notch likelier. But as The Economist went to press, both sides seemed loth to let the spat slide into a bigger punch-up straight away.
After the Syrian attack, Turkey’s mildly Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, convened his top generals for emergency talks, while Ahmet Davutoglu, his foreign minister, called on the heads of NATO and the UN, among others, to back Turkey’s appeals for a buffer zone in S yria. In Akcakale residents chanting slogans took to the streets to protest. The town has been prey to stray bullets from Syria in the past fortnight, as clashes intensified between rebels and troops loyal to Mr Assad.
在叙利亚的袭击之后，土耳其外交部长呼吁北约和联合国的首脑，支持其在叙利亚建立一个安全区，与此同时，土耳其温和的伊斯兰总理雷杰普·塔伊普·埃尔多安(Recep Tayyip Erdogan)立即召集了高级军官进行了紧急会议。但是Akcakale小镇的居民上街喊着口号表示抗议。在过去的两周里，随着忠于叙利亚总统阿萨德和叛军之间矛盾的加剧，小镇犹如猎物般深陷流弹的囹圄。
Despite Turkey’s retaliatory strikes, which many Turks hope are a face-saving ploy rather than a prelude to war, it remained unclear whether the Syrian shells had been fired deliberately. Some Turks even speculated that the rebels’ Free Syrian Army, which Turkey has been helping by providing it with bases and probably arms and training, may have orchestrated the attack in a bid to lure Turkey into the conflict.
A military confrontation between Turkey and Syria has been mooted ever since Syria downed a Turkish air force reconnaissance jet on June 22nd near the Syrian port city of Latakia. Turkey growled about possible retaliation, massing its troops along the border and declaring that it had revised its rules of engagement with Syria.
Syria is now Mr Erdogan’s biggest headache, with opinion polls suggesting that most Turks are unhappy with his government’s so far fruitless attempts to change the regime in Damascus. The slaughter of Syrian civilians continues unabated. About 80,000 of them, at last count, had sought refuge in Turkey.
Mr Erdogan’s support for Syria’s rebels has complicated and soured Turkey’s other relations in the region, particularly with Iran, Syria’s main local ally. Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, a Shia, has also turned against Mr Erdogan for coddling his Sunni rivals. Meanwhile, Mr Assad has resumed the backing his father Hafez, who was president before him, used to give to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, ceding control of a string of towns along the Turkish border to the PKK’s allies in the Democratic Union Party, a group of Syrian Kurds better known as the PYD. Turkey’s enthusiasm for a buffer zone may well be boosted as much by its fear of these newly emboldened Kurds as by its concern for Syria’s beleaguered people.
Erdogan总理因为支持叙利亚反对派使得土耳其与邻国的关系变得更加恶劣，这其中尤其是叙利亚的盟友伊朗。伊拉克总理努里·马利基（Nuri al-Maliki）是位什叶派,也因为土耳其总理背弃他转而支持逊尼派对手而与其决裂。在此之前，阿萨德总统的父亲，前叙利亚总统哈菲兹（Hafez）一直支持土耳其的库尔德工人党（PKK）。而今，阿萨德总统也开始支持该党，并将土耳其边境一系列小镇的掌控权交由PKK在民主联盟党（Democratic Union Party）内的盟友。民主联盟党是有叙利亚库尔德人所组成，又称PYD。土耳其对受怂恿的库尔德人的恐惧和对陷入困境的叙利亚人的担忧使得加强了其对缓冲区的热情大大增加。 翻译：周颖