ANKARA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- In case Turkey decides to go to a war with its southern neighbor Syria, it will be a formidable challenge for Turkey, alone or in cooperation with other countries, analysts say.
The tensions between the two former allies have already escalated to a new peak, with Turkish military retaliating to Syrian mortar shells almost on a daily basis for more than a week.
On Wednesday, a Damascus-bound passenger plane was forced to land by Turkish jets in Esenboga Airport in the Turkish capital of Ankara over intelligence that the plane was carrying military equipment.
Analysts said a war with Syria will have serious repercussions on Turkey in terms of surge in terror and rise in economic costs.
DOMESTIC WOES IN TURKEY
The involvement in Syria may harm the delicate balance of Turkey's own ethnic and religious make-up.
Dogu Ergil, a professor of political science at Istanbul-based Fatih University, warned that "both the Kurds and the Alevis have links in neighboring Syria," signaling that the Syrian government may try to use some of these groups to pose a threat on Turkey's national security.
The Syrian government has reportedly already ceded some regions in the north to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), seen as the extension of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Turkey.
Abdulhamit Bilici, an expert of foreign policy, pointed out that "the greatest danger for Ankara is the possibility that the force of al-Qaida might swell in this atmosphere of chaos."
Yavuz Baydar, a Turkish analyst, said Turkey is making mistake in its Syrian policy. "Turkey was left with an unfinished to-do list in its domestic field," he said, adding that a deeper engagement with Syria leads to anxieties among its population.
Recent polls suggested that some 80 percent of Turks opposed to a war with Syria. Some opposition parties in Turkey labeled the government's Syrian policy as "warmongering."
Analysts warned that an unpopular war with Syrian could also escalate into a region-wide war by dragging other countries into the conflict.
Sami Kohen, an analyst of foreign policy columnist at Turkey's Milliyet daily, said that "a war with Syria would not be about defeating Syria."
"It would carry with serious risks that Turkey and the rest of the region would be dragged into new problems," he added, stressing the complexity of Syrian situation.
Gultekin Avci, a Turkish military analyst, believed it is no problem for Turkey to handle Syria militarily alone. But he warned that Turkey will be fighting a war not only with Syria but with other countries that traditionally support the Syrian leadership as well.
"If the worst-case scenario happens and a war breaks out, with which country or countries will we find ourselves at war?" he asked, hinting that regional and global powers are playing a chess game using Syria as a front.
Turkish military is also worried about the chemical and biological weapons believed to be possessed by the Syrian government. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday that the United States has been assisting Turkey in dealing with a number of issues emanating from the crisis in Syria, including risks that Syria could lose control over its chemical and biological weapons.
HIGH ECONOMIC COST
Turkish economy will also feel the brunt of a likely war with Syria, and the budget will take a hit from war-related costs.
Seyfettin Gurel, an economist, warned that the Syrian crisis and ensuing tension in the region may result in significant damage to Turkish exports.
"Damage to Turkey's exports may be one result, not to mention other costs like a rise in military expenditures," Gurel noted, adding that a slight decrease in Turkish exports could jeopardize Turkey's efforts to balance the chronic account deficit while threatening to further lower the growth rate.
On Tuesday, Turkish government announced that it has lowered its 2012 growth forecast to 3.2 percent from 4 percent due to weakening domestic demand and troubles in major trade partners.
Even after the war, Turkey will need to lend a huge amount of money for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country and to revive its economy.
Nevertheless, some analysts believe that Turkey will not go into a war with Syria without the support of the international community.
"Washington doesn't wish to see a military confrontation between Turkey and Syria," said Omer Taspinar, director of the Turkey Program at the Brookings Institution.