Turkish-Syrian relations in the wake of the Syrian conflict: back to securitization?


CAMBRIDGE REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, vol.29, no.2, pp.695-717, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier


This paper analyses the bilateral relations between Turkey and Syria since the breakout of the popular uprising in 2011, with particular reference to a securitization-desecuritization framework. The author inquires whether Turkish policymakers have securitized the Syrian civil war and framed it in security-laden discourse in the time period under review. Turkey extended strong support to the demonstrations and invested efforts towards a regime change. Assad's response was unfriendly. Both the Assad regime's policy vis-a-vis Turkey and the repercussions of the civil war in Syria posed serious threats to Turkish national security. However, based on the analysis of official statements by Turkish authorities during the crisis, the author argues that Turkey avoided framing the Syrian refugee crisis in security terms, whereas border violations, such as the downing of a military aircraft by Syrian regime forces, were defined as threats to national security. The paper further discusses the reasons for Turkey's selective approach to issues concerning bilateral relations with Syria.