Turkey, Middle East

'Turkey cannot tolerate state-like structures in Syria'

Turkish Presidential Spokesman says Turkey will take 'every measure' to protect its borders

'Turkey cannot tolerate state-like structures in Syria'


By Nazli Yuzbasioglu


Turkey cannot tolerate the creation of small state-like structures led by PKK and its wing in Syria, Turkish presidential spokesman said, stressing that Turkey will take every measure to protect its borders.

"That poses a direct threat to our national security," Ibrahim Kalin said speaking at 18th Doha Forum "Identifying a European Role: Navigating Polarization across the MENA Region."

Kalin said Turkey's measures were not just for own interest but also for Syria's territorial integrity.

Turkish presidential spokesman said the U.S. presence in Syria went beyond its purpose and became "another theater for proxy games in the region."

"They say that now they are in Syria for three main reasons: One is the enduring defeat of Daesh. Number two is to provide stability and secure Syria's territorial integrity and number three is, now they say it publicly, to get Iran and its forces out of Syria," Kalin said.

Kalin recalled his last meeting with his U.S. counterpart, during which he reported saying, "Look I can understand the first two goals, but good luck with the third one."

"That means Syrian issue is no longer about Syrian issue," Kalin added.

On Wednesday, Erdogan said that within days Turkey would launch an operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates, near Turkey’s borders, to clear the region of PKK/YPG terrorists.

That operation would follow two successful Turkish operations since 2016 to foil the formation of a “terror corridor” along Turkey’s border.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

- 'Where are the Europeans in Syrian fire?'

"Is Europe devising its own policies on its own or is it always looking for a signal from Washington?" Kalin asked questioning the European approach to the Syria and Palestine issue.

"A lot of people think that on key geopolitical issues, the Europe has developed this tendency of looking at Washington what the signal is, what the position will be, and then they take a position or not, they get involved or not," Kalin said.

Kalin also criticized the Muslim countries for "lack of leadership" and said like European countries Muslim countries were also silent against Syrian and Palestinian issues.

"Where are the Europeans in the Syrian fire? We understand that United States has big military and economic power, they naturally enter the game as a powerful player. That's understandable but there are many other things that we can do," Kalin said stressing that the Europeans were very hesitant to be an active player when it comes to political resolution in Syria.

Kalin also recalled a Syria summit on October 27 in Istanbul with the attendance of Russia, Turkey, France and Germany.

"For the first time we brought together Astana group members and the small group members and that produced two important results. One was the Idlib ceasefire agreement which is now an enduring ceasefire. Secondly, the constitutional issue. So, we made progress on those issues. Is that enough? Obviously not, because we still have a lot of work to do in Syria."

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