November 24, 2011
Turkey appears to be preparing for some form of civil war in neighboring Syria, wary of any unilateral intervention but fearful fighting there could quickly escalate to a broader sectarian conflagration in the Arab world.
“I observe a simmering threat in the region based on a Sunni-Shiite divide,” Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Wednesday. “It … has the potential to move the Muslim world from the 21st century into the darkness of the Middle Ages.”
These were words Gul would not have uttered in public even a couple of weeks ago. But Ankara has in recent days openly abandoned any notion of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad staying in power and is focused on dealing with the chaos that could follow his removal.