ANKARA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- If Ankara joins a Western military strike in Syria, then it should brace for possible reprisal attacks from Syria and Iran, analysts said.
On Wednesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned Turkey about the consequences of a military action against Syria, without elaborating on details.
"The Syrian regime may resort to attacks against Turkey to punish its involvement in the likely upcoming intervention by the coalition of Western powers," said Hasan Kanbolat, director of Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies.
ON HIGH ALERT
Turkey has been at the forefront of mounting a punitive attack on Syria by Western countries, following a chemical attack allegedly perpetrated by Syrian government forces, a claim which was denied by Damascus.
Ankara is already on high alert for possible use of chemical weapons against Turkey, with its Disaster and Emergency Management Agency stepping up measures in the country's provinces along the Syrian border.
The agency dispatched teams of chemical weapon experts to those areas to monitor the situation while ordering the stockpile of gas masks and the designation of bunker areas in case of emergency.
Turkey's involvement may drag the country deeper into the Syrian conflict, said Bulent Kenes, editor-in-chief of Turkish daily Today's Zaman, noting that Turkey must be "extremely cautious" so that there won't be any "radical" solutions to the Syrian problem and it won't risk "pulling Turkey into a pit of hell."
Kenes said "Otherwise, it is inevitable that our country will be an open target for the Syrian regime and its supporters which have long been trying to destabilize Turkey through deadly attacks and fifth column activities."
Turkey may be susceptible to sectarian divisions, which have been taking its toll in the Middle East countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
"Turkey's internal fractures and tensions may also be negatively affected by the Syrian turmoil," said Ihsan Yilmaz, professor of political science at Istanbul-based Fatih University.
"Our Alevis are different from Alawites, but there is no guarantee that they will not be affected," Yilmaz said.
TERROR THREAT FROM PKK
Another blowback for Turkey would be increasing terror threat from the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which is affiliated with Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PKK is listed as terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
According to Kanbolat, the Syrian government may provide significant support to the PKK and its Syrian branch to attack Turkey.
"This may also derail the settlement process that Ankara launched at the end of last year to settle the country's Kurdish problem," he noted.
Saleh Muslim, leader of PYD, already signaled that he is siding with the Syrian government, saying the chemical attack was aimed at framing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provoking international reactions.
The PYD is trying to establish an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria, which is aided by PKK militants from Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
RISKS FROM SYRIAN REFUGEES, SMUGGLING
The swelling Syrian refugees and escalating smuggling activities along Turkey-Syrian border pose significant challenges for Turkey as well.
Ankara said it has already spent over 700 million U.S. dollars in taking care of over 500,000 Syrian refugees sheltered in Turkey.
The military has to respond by repelling thousands of smugglers who come across to Turkey from Syria in recent weeks, which complicates Turkish efforts to secure the 910 km long porous border with the Arab country.
"The Damascus regime may force more refugees to flee to Turkey while keeping a blind eye to smuggling activity," Kanbolat said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said earlier this week that the Turkish government has taken all security measures, not only against a possible chemical attack but also against other possible threats from Syria.
U.S. lawmakers demand Obama wait for Congress' approval prior attacking Syria
WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Amid signs the U.S. is ready to attack Syria, 140 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed onto a letter, demanding President Barack Obama get authorization of Congress before going ahead with the military strike.
"We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973," said the letter, which is published on the website of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill. Full story
Syria to "decisively" respond to foreign military action
DAMASCUS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Defense Minister Fahed al- Fraij said Thursday that the army will "decisively" respond to any form of foreign military action, the state-TV reported.
The minister's remarks were made on a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hasan Dahqan, during which he accused " terrorists" of using chemical weapons on innocent civilians to obtain support from the superpowers and to cover their defeats. Full story