Turkey, Russia working to resolve Idlib issues: Erdoğan
Vahap Munyar - BUENOS AIRES
Turkey and Russia do not have a “serious problem” with regards to Syria’s Idlib province, where the two countries are trying to create a sustainable demilitarized zone, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 2.
“Turkey has so far pulled its weight in Idlib with its security forces and soldiers. There are only problems with HTS [al-Qaeda affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham]. Due to this, they [Russia] have voiced some uneasiness. Our relevant units are in constant contact with each other,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists before returning from a Group of 20 summit in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.
World leaders gathered in Buenos Aires last week for the Group of 20 summit, a meeting of the world’s largest economies responsible for 85 percent of global economic output.
The Syrian government’s ally Russia, and Turkey, which backs Syrian rebels, agreed in September to create a demilitarized zone around the rebel-held northwestern enclave of Idlib. But exchanges of shelling have been common since then and the first air strikes since the deal hit the area on Nov. 25.
Erdoğan also spoke about the case of the jailed Turkish rights activist and businessman Osman Kavala on Dec. 2. “I have [already] announced who are behind Gezi [park protests of 2013]. I had said that it was internationally supported by [the Hungarian-American philanthropist George] Soros, locally by Kavala. Who sent money to Kavala is apparent,” Erdoğan said.
“I go to Germany and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [Frank-Walter] Steinmeier ask me about Kavala. I have spoken to them about it [the case]. I have asked them, ‘Why do you like this man so much, what is the nature of the bond between you?’” said Erdoğan.
Kavala was detained in October last year and subsequently jailed pending trial, accused of seeking to overthrow the government as part of an investigation into FETÖ, which Ankara accuses of carrying out a 2016 failed coup.