ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey and US meet to search ways for aiding the increasing number of Syrians while a senior oppositionfigure criticizes the foreign minister’s policies on the Syrian crisis
Lebanese soldiers patrol on an armored vehicle in the neighbourhood of Bab al-Tebbanehin Tripoli, northern Lebanon, as clashes spilled from Syria kills nearly 10. REUTERS photo
Turkish and American
delegations are set to begin talks today on the Syrian crisis to examine ways they can work together to aid fleeing Syrians and make them feel more secure in this time of instability in Syria.
Foreign Ministry deputy Undersecretary Halit Çevik will lead the Turkish delegation while Ambassador Elisabeth Jones will carry out talks on behalf of the United States.
The two parties will discuss a number of issues, including potential contingency plans for the establishment of security zones inside Syria. Various diplomats, military officials and intelligence members are scheduled to participate in the meeting. The involved parties will exchange their intelligence regarding recent developments from the ground on the ongoing battle in Syria, a diplomatic source told the Hürriyet Daily News. U.S. concerns focus on the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons, which Washington fears al-Qaeda may get a hold of.
President Barack Obama warned the Syrian regime Aug. 20 that using or moving its chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and could open the way for a military response. Turkey’s increasing concerns regarding a possible security threat from Syria into its territory, as well as the possibility there will be a massive influx of Syrian refugees across Turkish border is expected to be high on the meetings’ agenda. Turkey has urged the U.S. to assist in establishing contingency plans, including security zones into Syria, in case more than 100,000 refugees flee past Turkish borders, saying it cannot afford to shelter that high number of refugees. The number of Syrians taking shelter in Turkey hit 74,112, the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said yesterday. ‘Theoretical obsessions’
Turkey is also increasing its pressure on the U.N. to extend help to the Syrians fleeing violence. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
held a phone conversation with the U.N.’s Valerie Amos as the number of refugees sharply increased after heavy fighting in Aleppo. Meanwhile, Turkey’s main opposition party delivered a harsh warning to the government yesterday about its intention to host migrants on Syrian soil should the number of Syrians seeking refuge in the country exceed 100,000 and labeled Davutoğlu’s statements on the issue “misleading and alarming.” Faruk Loğoğlu, deputy chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry blamed Davutoğlu for “theoretical obsessions and shallow approaches,” in a written statement.
“Davutoğlu is saying that ‘security zones’ or ‘buffer zones’ could be established if the number of refuges exceed 100,000; and is giving the impression that this [establishment of security or buffer zones] is up to Ankara’s unilateral will,” Loğoğlu said. “But Davutoğlu is misleading our people on this issue too. The idea of establishing protective zones has legitimacy only when there are required conditions,” he said, citing examples where such secure zones were implemented in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Rwanda in recent years.
Loğoğlu said his party wished to warn the government, and particularly the foreign minister, on the Syrian issue once more.
According to Loğoğlu, even AKP executives have made a correlation between the rise of terrorist attacks and worsened bilateral relations with neighboring countries. “Davutoğlu should not forget that he also has a responsibility in the loss of lives in our country and in neighboring countries because of his theoretical obsessions and shallow approaches,” he said. The chief Turkish diplomat also urged the U.N to set up refugee camps “within the borders of Syria” in order to contain the number of Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country.