Situation in the Middle East took a new turn on June 22, 2012 when according to Turkish authorities, the Syrian jets shot down Turkish jet named Phantom. The jet, according to Ankara was on a routine training flight over the international waters and was unarmed too therefore Syrian authorities had no mandate to down the plane.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, on the first day of the incident said, the plane might have violated the Syrian airspace but the next day during his address he perhaps called it spade a spade blaming the Syrian authorities having shot down their jet. Then on June 26 Mr. Erdogan addressed to the parliament in which he censured the Syrian authorities for the incident.
“Turkey’s friendship is valuable, but everyone should know Turkey’s wrath is equally furious,” Erdogan said. He then explained that from now on Turkey’s rules of engagement with Syria had been raised to a new level. “Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk will be regarded as a threat, and will be treated as a military target”.
Turkey then also wrote a letter to the UN drawing its attention towards this incident besides writing to NATO for a special meeting on the issue. NATO was perhaps waiting for this moment for it would now have an excuse to further grill and bully Syria. The pressure ostensibly will be huge keeping in view the fact that now the West and the United States in their individual capacities as well, would definitely like to give tough time to the Syrian government. As many analysts believe, this particular incident will have far reaching effects on the Middle East politics and may also serve as major step towards overthrowing of the sitting Syrian government.
Again one has to agree with those who are of the view, tension between Turkey and Syria is actually created by those who do not want both of them to come close to each other. It is interesting to note that both countries had been able to come closer to each other. Erdogan and al-Assad had developed a close relationship, and borders were opened. The plane shooting incident however left everything topsy-turvy.
As held by Arab analysts, the obvious truth is that the Arab Spring opened a whole chapter in the Middle East. The gap between the authoritarian regimes and their people became starker than ever. And Turkey, for its credit, has done the right thing by taking sides with the people. This should continue everywhere, especially in Syria. Turkey should be relentless in its stance against the bloody tyrannies of the region.
During a recent UN vote on Syria, Pakistan chose to abstain while Russia and China vetoed the resolution. Those Muslim states, which still have one-man rule, should think seriously about introducing democracies to their countries. And when we say democracy, it certainly means true democracy where people are the real fountainhead of power and not the sham one. That is what the Arab Spring perhaps is all about.
Though one may not like the way the Syrian government is being forced to call it a day, nevertheless the fact of the matter is that the government will have to call it a day because all big powers have girded up their loins to achieve this end. Self reliance is yet another strong point that the Muslim countries in particular need to focus on for if they are self-sufficient, their level of reliance on other countries will decrease considerably. As it goes, beggars can’t be choosers. Muslim states will continue to remain in a state of disarray as long as they continue to bank on others.
And since charity begins at home, Muslims countries need to set their own house in order. They will have to take their people on board as well besides giving them freedoms of expression and basic rights. It they will not do it, the specter of Arab Spring shall devour them also.