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19 May, 2013 14:04

Turkey to see more bombings as Erdogan's support for Syrian rebels backfires

Terrorist attacks on Turkish soil won’t stop until the country’s Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, gives up on his support of rebel forces in Syria, British broadcaster, Neil Clark, told RT.

Turkish police have fired tear gas at protesters in a town near the Syrian border, which was the scene of a deadly double car bombing a week ago.

Demonstrators are angry over Ankara's support for the Syrian rebels, which they say is putting Turkey in the firing line.

World affairs journalist and broadcaster, Neil Clark, believes Erdogan must reconsider his policies and stop accusing the Syrian government of targeting the Hatay province, as it would’ve been an “absolutely absurd” move from Damascus.

RT: Tension and discontent on the Turkish-Syrian border is now escalating - what ramifications could this have?

Neil Clark: I think if I were Turkish I would be protesting too, because Mr Erdogan has made colossal blunder here because in August 2011 he took the line he’s going to play a leading role in trying to topple the Syrian government. He allowed rebels to be based in the country. His government gave arms to them and equipment. And now it’s sort of a blowback time. We had some terrible bombings in Turkey this week and this will only continue, until Turkey changes course in relation to Syria. 

People of Reyhanli chant slogans as riot police block them on May 18, 2013, at Reyhanli in Hatay, during the funerals of the victims of a car bomb which went off on May 11 at Reyhanli in Hatay just a few kilometres from the main border crossing into Syria (AFP Photo / STR)

RT: Turkey maintains Syria was responsible for last weekend's bombing of a Turkish town that left more than 50 dead, but why would Damascus orchestrate a cross-border attack?

NC: It’ll be absolutely suicidal for Syrian president [Bashar] Assad to order an attack on Turkey, knowing that very powerful countries in the West are just itching for an excuse to militarily attack the country, to bomb the country. So the last thing would be doing is trying to bomb Turkey. It’s absolutely absurd. I don’t know who was responsible for these bombings, but it’s clear that what Erdogan has done has actually involved Turkey in this war. He’s brought the war to Turkey. And understandable the Turkish citizens – not just those on the border with Syria, but throughout the country – are getting increasingly angry and they demand that he changes his course.   

RT: Turkey has made it clear it doesn't want to get directly involved in Syria, but has pledged to respond to the bombings. What action could we see?

NC: We haven’t got any evidence as to who’s responsible for these bombings. And I think Erdogan has to seriously reconsider his entire policies, because all he’s doing is increasing the tension here by backing the rebels. He took a gamble in August 2011 believing that the Syrian government would fall very shortly and that there’ll be a very nice Islamist government in power in Damascus that’ll be very friendly to Turkey. It backfired. It hasn’t happened. And I think that the position, Turkey is in, is getting worse and worse. I hope I’m wrong, but we’re going to see more bombings, I’m afraid. Because the war has been brought to Turkey and, of course, the rebels themselves are fighting among themselves – the radical Islamists, the not so radical Islamists. It’s all happening in Turkey.   
RT: An international conference on Syria – endorsed by Russia and the US – is expected soon. What results can we expect?

NC: It all depends on the stance of the US and its allies. Because if they’re still going to carry on with this rhetoric, this Assad must go, we’re not going to get any progress, are we? The people, who are pouring the petrol on the fire, the countries like the US and Turkey, have got to change their position. It’s no use that they’re having a conference, if they’re still going to back the rebels. They’re still saying that the Syrian people could decide the government they want as long as Assad goes. That’s not democracy, is it? It’s up to the Syrian people alone. It’s up to US, Qatar, Turkey to stop interfering in Syria.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP Photo / Adem Altam)

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.