Turkey to attend quartet summit sideline of NATO summit

Turkey to attend quartet summit to discuss steps to be taken in Syria, says presidential spokesperson

Andac Hongur   | 08.11.2019
Turkey to attend quartet summit sideline of NATO summit Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin makes a speech as he holds a press conference at the Mabeyn Mansion in Istanbul, Turkey on November 08, 2019. ( Isa Terli - Anadolu Agency )


Turkey's presidential spokesperson announced on Friday that the Turkish president will attend a quartet summit on the sidelines of the NATO summit on Dec. 3-4 in London.

The NATO summit will host heads of state and government chaired by the NATO secretary general.

Ibrahim Kalin said during a press conference with the French, German and British delegations that they confirmed Turkey would attend the quartet summit to discuss steps that will be taken in Syria.

Kalin noted that French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to address the process in Syria after Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorist YPG/PKK elements 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.

He noted it would be a better idea to hold the summit in Istanbul, Sanliurfa or Gaziantep because the Syrian crisis and refugee issues take place near Turkey's borders.

Kalin said they also discussed the agenda of the summit in a meeting with the delegation.

"We particularly discussed the opportunities offered after Operation Peace Spring, return of refugees, establishment of a safe zone and what can be done for the upcoming political process.

"It is especially important that the constitutional committee completes its work and takes steps to bring Syria a new democratic, encompassing, transparent and legitimate government," he said.

Kalin pointed out the significance of the work of the UN Commissioner for Refugees on the return of refugees and added that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres -- when he was accepted by Erdogan last week in Istanbul -- said he would support the process.

He emphasized that the detailed work is in progress under the roof of the UN, especially on the return of refugees to the regions under Turkey's control.

"European countries are also examining how they can contribute to this process.

"We asked for their suggestions both on the return of refugees and how the next political process would proceed," he added.

He said those who claim that 'Turkey is no longer a reliable NATO ally' are disturbed by Turkey's steps guaranteeing its national interest in the region.

"We made it clear that Turkey's security is the security of NATO, and NATO's security is the security of Turkey," he stressed.

Kalin said that cooperating with the terrorist organization for other reasons is one of the biggest mistakes in Syria, and continuation of this false policy, initiated during the Obama period, not only complicates the problems on the field, but also casts a shadow on the alliance relationship.

"We have stated on several occasions that we will not be able to eliminate a terrorist organization with another terrorist organization," Kalin added.

He also reminded that during last year's quartet summit hosted by Erdogan, the participant countries reiterated their commitment to the establishment of the constitutional commission and agreed on maintaining the Idlib agreement.

The four-nation summit in 2018 on Syria between Turkey, Russia, Germany and France focused on the consolidation of the cease-fire in Idlib and the joint efforts for a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Kalin added that he will meet James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition, on Saturday.

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

* Writing by Dilara Hamit in Ankara

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