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Saturday, July 30, 2016

How Will the Failed Coup in Turkey Affect Syria?

As the dust slowly settles following the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, which killed around 300 people and left more than 2,000 wounded, it is clear that Turkish politics will remain in flux for some time to come. July 15 may come to be seen as a defining moment in Turkey’s contemporary history—but could it also be so for Syria?
At first glance, there does not seem to be an immediate connection between the two issues. But the effects of the failed coup could play out in many different and contradictory ways for Syria, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has long been one of the most hawkish supporters of an Islamist-led Sunni insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian government. Even a slight shift in Ankara’s Syria policy could have significant consequences for the war—and if Erdogan had been toppled, it could easily have been a game-changing moment in the conflict. When news of the coup first broke, celebratory gunfire erupted in Damascus and several other cities, though that turned out to be a waste of both cheers and bullets.

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