Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu greets his supporters during an election rally of his ruling Ak Party (AKP) in Konya, central Turkey, March 28, 2014. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
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It is already past lunchtime and souvenir shop owner Halil Santoglu has yet to make a sale -- a frequent complaint these days in this once bustling bazaar as the war in nearby Syria wreaks havoc with the economy of Turkey's southern borderlands.Erdogan has strongly backed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011 . Turkey opened its border to let in some 900,000 Syrian refugees, built camps to house them and gave free passage into Syria for the armed fighters, now dominated by hardline Islamists, battling Assad. The Alevis, who follow a liberal version of Islam in mainly Sunni Muslim Turkey, also accuse the AK Party of stoking Syria's sectarian divisions.The Turkish government denies any sectarian bias in Syria. Santoglu said, gesturing to three bearded men with shalwar trousers, suspecting them of being Sunni rebel fighters on account of their dress.In one of the most serious cross-border incidents since the war began, Turkey shot down a Syrian jet accused of violating its airspace on Sunday.
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