Turkey won’t embark on adventure in Syria: PM Davutoğlu
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu addresses his ruling AKP MPs during a session at Parliament in Ankara on Oct. 14. AFP Photo / Adem AltanTurkey will not embark on an “adventure” in Syria without certain agreements from the international community, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, reiterating Ankara deems establishing safe havens and no-fly zones in northern Syria as a must for Turkish participation in the international coalition.
“Turkey will not embark on an adventure [in Syria] at the insistence of some other countries, unless the international community does what is necessary and introduces an integrated strategy,” Davutoğlu told his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group on Oct. 14.
His remarks came as Turkish and U.S. military officials are scheduled to launch talks on Turkey’s contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey is under pressure to allow the coalition forces to use its military bases and airspace, but Ankara has placed a number of conditions on giving this permission.
“We don’t approve of one-dimensional policies,” Davutoğlu added, again underlining the government’s position that permanent peace in the region will only be brought if the Bashar al-Assad regime is toppled. He said Turkey could only contribute to the international coalition if the coalition agrees to establish a safe haven and a no-fly zone in Syria.
“It should not be misunderstood, we are not talking about a buffer zone in the military sense, but a security zone in which those who flee violence, bombs and chemical attacks can find shelter,” Davutoğlu said, urging the international community that the number of refugees could increase as a result of air bombardment. “Turkey is not seeking to establish a buffer zone for its own interests, but a security zone for civilians and humanitarian purposes,” he stressed in a joint press conference with visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
On a question on what legal grounds Turkey will train and equip moderate Syrian rebels in its territories, Davutoğlu referred to some U.N. Security Council resolutions that call for the international community to assist Syrians. “There is no legal vacuum,” Davutoğlu said without detailing the legal status. Syrians to be trained in Turkey are part of the Free Syrian Army that are fighting both the al-Assad regime and ISIL.
“Everyone should know that we will have no pity on whoever dares to threaten Turkey. We will immediately retaliate. That’s why we have this motion,” he said, referring to the recent bill allowing the Turkish military to conduct cross-border operations.