The war in Syria

Syria's civil war has disrupted Middle Eastern stability, as countries such as Turkey have used the conflict to further political and economic objectives. The battle has evolved into a regional crisis, endangering both the region's security and economic prosperity (Arslanian, 2014). Turkey, as a prominent military force in the region, has used the civil conflict in Syria to advance its own objectives. The essay seeks to describe Turkey's participation in the Syrian conflict, with a focus on political and economic interests.
In 1998, a cloud war developed between Syria and Turkey.Turkey was involved in a campaign against Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) and accused Syria of supporting PKK. The beginning of uneasy relations between the two neighbors set. The two countries started having political, ideological and resource related grievances which have remained unsettled till now. Turkey has played a significant role in the Syrian civil war which began in 2011. Turkey has armed and financed many Muslim extremists like Jihad, the Al Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham. A new phase of Syrian conflict began in 2016 and had a direct military operation.

Currently, Turkey occupies a sovereign country with over three hundred and fifty men stationed in Syria (Çakmak, 2016). The war initiated when Syrian government did not comply with what Turkey demanded concerning political reforms. Immediately turkey resolved to embark on a regime changing policy which would fight against the Syrian government. Turkey armed and started financing militants branded as “Free Syrian Army.” Also, Turkey facilitated the attack on Syria by providing a platform for jihadi fighters to perform operations in Syria. Turkey acted as a highway for jihadi troops entering and leaving Syria to Iran.

From the beginning of 2011, Turkey had three strategies in mind. First is to demean the Syrian government by arming the Islamists and Jihad insurgency. The second approach would enable the Muslim brothers to become more powerful. The third strategy forms a transformed relationship with Daesh. It is remembered that in 2014, turkey’s prime minister defined Daesh as a coalition of frustrated Sunni youngsters. The strategy worked, and turkey’s policy has been shaped by the country’s complicated relationship with Russia.

Turkish economic interests in Syria

After evolving from a diplomatic approach to the fully formed alliance, Syria and Turkey are now founded on economic, military, cultural and diplomatic pillars. The fundamental goal of Turkey is to ensure that Syria’s Kurds do not establish territorially adjacent area near the Turkey border (Stein, 2017). Turkey has made it clear that Assad has to be overthrown. With that in mind, it becomes the first time in history when Turkey adopts a regime-change policy (Arslanian, 2014). Back in the days when America wanted to counter ISIS, Turkey refused to be actively involved demanding that both ISIS and Assad become the target. A little focus on ISIS would make Turkey refrain from the coalition of willing which is an international community that fights ISIS. The first thing that Turkey did was to replace Assad with the Sunni government formed mostly of the Muslims. The Sunni government would be easily manipulated by the by Ankara creating a better platform for restoring security in Syria-Turkey border.

Qatar-Turkey pipeline passes through Syria. A resource that Turkey wants to secure in its war participation in Syria. Ensuring the pipeline would make Turkey independent of Russian natural gas which is rather expensive than fighting for the pipeline’s security. Supremacy of the Sunni assures Turkey of extensive economic, logistical and support from ISIL. If Turkey withdrew from the civil war, ISIL would crumble cutting Kurd's links with Turkey (Çakmak, 2016). Also, Turkey wants to secure a good economic relationship with Syria following its financial investment in Syria in the last two decades. One of the common remarks that show the importance of an economic relationship between Syria and Turkey is that Syria forms a direct route to the Middle East for Turkey while Turkey becomes a gateway for Syria in Europe. Turkey continues to invest in Syria and 2010; Turkey was the biggest foreign investor in Syria. Therefore, Turkey knows that a good strategy would help in reinstating an economic growth by channeling more investments to Syria.


Turkey gets involved in Syrian war both for political and economic interest. Turkey government understands that containing Kurdish political gains and obstructing activities in Syria are critical. The emergence of Kurdish activities threatens the internal security and stability of Turkey, and this explains why Turkey is actively at the civil war. The Turkish government also desires to become more independent especially from EU and NATO. The aim is to have regional independence for itself and involving in Syrian war would have them upsetting the US. Turkey does not require much backing up from the US and that is why they are in the war despite USA’s effort to stop a civil war in Syria. On economic interests, Turkey would be able to control the Syrian economy once their political interests are put in place. Once the Sunni takes control of Syria, Turkey would conquer Syria’s economy by establishing more investments in the country.


Arslanian, F. (2014). The Civil War in Syria: The International Dimension. Global Policy, 6(1), 81-83.

Çakmak, C. (2016). Turkish–Syrian relations in the wake of the Syrian conflict: back to securitization?. Cambridge Review Of International Affairs, 29(2), 695-717.

Stein, A. (2017). Reconciling U.S.-Turkish Interests in Northern Syria. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 28 April 2017, from

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