Politics, Middle East

No one has right to Syrian wealth: Turkish top diplomat

US admits being in Syria to confiscate its oil revenue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says

Erdogan Cagatay Zontur and Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   | 09.11.2019
No one has right to Syrian wealth: Turkish top diplomat Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and ECO Secretary General Hadi Soleimanpour (not seen) hold a joint press conference after attending the meeting of Economic Cooperation Organization in Antalya, Turkey on November 09, 2019. ( Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

Turkey's foreign minister said on Saturday that no one has the right to the wealth of Syria, referring to oil reservoirs in the country's northeast.

"[The U.S.] admits that it is in Syria especially for the oil reservoirs.

"We are talking about a country that does not hide it is there to seize it for oil wealth, and we see that it also supports terrorist organizations such as YPG and PKK with the income obtained from the revenue," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a news conference following the 24th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Council of Ministers Meeting in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

"No one has a right to the wealth of Syria.

"Turkey started an operation to eliminate terrorists, unlike many others and the U.S. who admitted being there to confiscate the country's wealth, and we prevented the partition of Syria. We strongly support its territorial integrity," Cavusoglu added.

The oil fields have been at the center of attention following U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal of its forces from northeastern Syria. Trump has since backpedaled on the full withdrawal he announced, acknowledging some troops will stay in the region "to secure the oil."

After a pause in Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria, U.S. troops on Friday resumed military patrols around oil reservoirs in the region.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Oct. 22, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia to force YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the planned terror-free zone with their weapons.

Cavusoglu also criticized the U.S. House of Representatives’ resolution recognizing the Armenian claims on the 1915 events in Ottoman era.

"You can't get anywhere when you speak to us with sanctions, but if you're going to sit down and talk, we'll sit down and talk, and we already did, indeed.

"Within five days, we reached an agreement with both the U.S. and Russia," he stressed, adding: "Sanctions do not refrain us [from acting]".

"That's why it [the U.S.] took the decision on the so-called genocide," he said.

On Oct. 29, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian claims on the 1915 events in Ottoman era, and also passed a bill to impose sanctions on Turkey over its anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to examine the issue.

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