Turkey on alert over attacks on Syrian Turkmens
AA photoTurkey has boosted diplomatic efforts to protect Turkmens in Syria from increased attacks by the Russian and Syrian armies, amid concerns that they could face even tougher days if these military operations would not stop.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu convened a security summit with the participation of senior military, political and intelligence officials, but had to cut it short due to the election of the Parliament Speaker at parliament.
Among the participants were Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, foreign and interior ministers Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Selami Altınok, Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Galip Mendi, and National Intelligence Organization (MIT) chief Hakan Fidan.
Sources from the Prime Ministry said the meeting was focused on developments in Syria, with particular attention on the attacks on Syrian Turkmens over the last five days, CNN Türk reported on Nov. 22.
Participants reportedly reviewed developments in Syria in detail and analyzed the measures Turkey could take in order to protect Turkmens.
The recent Russian-Syrian offensive came shortly after Turkey and the U.S. announced plans to launch operations between the Mare-Jarablus line in northern Syria, with the objective of clearing the area of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Davutoğlu closely following developments
Sources stressed that developments were being closely followed by Ankara, with Prime Minister Davutoğlu being kept informed by General Akar and MİT chief Fidan over the weekend.
An intense Russian aerial campaign supported by ground forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime targeted Turkmens in northwestern Syria, near the Turkish border, with the objective of seizing control of strategic points in the region. The campaign resulted in the advancement of Syrian forces, but Turkey was quick to register its protests.
Turkey summoned Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov to the Foreign Ministry to express Ankara’s anger at the move and demanded an immediate halt.
Hectic diplomatic traffic
According to sources, Turkey also tried to reach out to other leading countries over developments. Foreign Minister Sinirlioğlu spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the attacks on Syrian Turkmens on Nov. 21 and sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council term presidency asking the council to take the issue onto its agenda for discussion very soon.
Turkey, Russia to meet on Nov 25
Amid tension, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Russia, Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Sergei Lavrov are set to meet on Nov. 25 in Istanbul in a preparatory meeting before the presidents of two countries’ meet in Moscow on Dec. 15. The issue of attacks targeting Turkmens is expected to be high on the agenda of the two ministers’ meetings.