Syria’s Kurds complicate Turkey’s approach toward Assad

March 26, 2012

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(AP/Bilal Hussein)
Syrian Kurds living in Lebanon chant slogans against the Syrian regime.

Once one of Syria’s closest allies, Turkey has been a vocal opponent of Assad’s violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. But while Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has talked tough, he’s stopped short of military intervention. One major reason for the restraint is Turkey’s volatile relationship with the region’s Kurds. While Kurds only make up about ten to 15 percent of Syria's population, their allegiances are crucial to understanding the potential for broader instability in the region. Worldview discusses the Kurdish situation with Ali Ezzatyar, attorney and director of the steering committee for the Berkeley Program on Entrepreneurship and Democracy in the Middle East.