The attacks were staged in protest of a decision by the Arab League to suspend Syria’s membership over its crackdown on an eight-month-long uprising in the country. Turkey is not a member of the league, but welcomed the decision. Turkish columnists have voiced their regret over the Syrian administration’s attitude and the deterioration in relations between the countries to such an extent that diplomatic missions were attacked.
According to Milliyet’s Sami Kohen, the targeting of Turkish diplomatic missions in Syria by supporters of Assad has caused things to get out of hand between Turkey and Syria, making the Assad regime lose credit in the eyes of Turkey. Kohen says that in addition to calling back the families of the diplomats and imposing travel restrictions on Syria, Turkey may, in accordance with the unfolding of events, place harsher economic and political sanctions on Syria, which may also be enforced by countries from the Arab League and Europe. He suggests that if Assad continues to spill blood and if Syria is dragged into a sectarian and ethnic war, Turkey will certainly not just remain an onlooker to this. “The path Assad chooses to take will be clear in a few days’ time,” Kohen says.
Türkiye’s İsmail Kaplan says looking at the statements of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, an apology offered to Turkey by his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem, on Monday for the attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions seems to not have convinced Turkey. He claims that while Davutoğlu said Turkey will take a “decisive attitude” over the attacks on its diplomatic missions in Syria, he met with Syrian opposition groups on the same day to discuss a strategy that will be followed against Assad. Regarding the Arab League’s decision to suspend Damascus, Kaplan says this decision will further isolate and corner Assad, and will strengthen Turkey’s hand, while it also has the potential to spark a change in the attitudes of Russia and China, which are taking a soft approach to Assad.
Yeni Şafak’s Mehmet Şeker says the attacks on the Turkish Embassy and consulates in Syria were extremely disturbing, and suggests that pulling down the Turkish flag and polishing shoes with it or tearing down posters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk will bring no good to either the Syrian administration or the Syrian people. “If the Syrian administration was so disturbed by the Arab League’s decision to suspend it, why has it not kept the promises it made thus far? Turkey sent constant warnings to Syria. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu met with Assad many times to ask him to stop his violent crackdown on protestors; didn’t this have any value? Two years ago, we went to Syria without needing to have our passports checked. Should this be the point being reached today? Is this brotherhood and friendship?” asks Şeker.