Turkey Confused About Georgia-South Ossetia Conflict

The Turkish government has a sense of awkwardness concerning events in the Caucasus as fighting continued in Georgia and South Ossetia. Prime Minster Erdogan has flown to Moscow to urge peace and halt to any further warfare. He also has come under criticism from the US and the European Union for failure to take a firm stand against Russia. However, he is also mindful of various ethnic groups in Turkey whose homeland lies in areas currently involved in fighting. Protestors gathered near the Georgian Consulate in Istanbul to speak out against the silence of Turkey on recent events. Those of South Ossetian background were upset at the refusal of the Turkish government to condemn the invasion of their homeland by Georgia.

There have been reports of fighting in various areas of Turkey between supporters of the opposing sides. Turkey has a significant population of people who come from South Ossetia and they believe there has been less anger at Georgia’s invasion than the Russian attack on Georgia.

Prime Minister Erdogan is caught in a dilemma. On one hand, Turkey seeks entry to the EU which is strongly supporting Georgia in this conflict. On the other hand, Turkey seeks good relations with Russia and Iran which are opposing Georgia and western nations.