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MURAT YETKİN > US and Turkey discuss Iraq, Syria over the weekend

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In addition to their weekend discussions on Iraq and Syria, US Secretary of State Kerry and FM Davutoğlu (R) also discussed the issue in Cyprus. DHA photo

In addition to their weekend discussions on Iraq and Syria, US Secretary of State Kerry and FM Davutoğlu (R) also discussed the issue in Cyprus. DHA photo

The fragile situations in Iraq and Syria were discussed on March 30 during a telephone call between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Ahmet Davutoğlu, the foreign minister of Turkey, which shares a border with two critical Middle East countries, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

On Syria, the discussion centered on the measures to be taken regarding a warning by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding the Syrian government’s use of Scud missiles against rebel forces in populated areas and the possible use of chemical weapons in President Bashar al-Assad’s arsenal. On March 20, both Syrian government forces and rebel forces accused each other of using chemical weapons in the Han Ansal region, some 30 kilometers from the Turkish border.

In addition to the Turkish military’s conventional measures along the 910-kilometer-long Syrian border, three NATO-owned Patriot anti-missile batteries operated by American, German and Dutch soldiers were deployed to Turkey earlier this year to endorse the solidarity of the alliance. In answer to HDN questions, sources said there was no mention during the conversation of assigning a dual role to the batteries to create a safe haven for the rebels.

Kerry had voiced his reaction to the weapons support the Syrian government gets from Iran and elsewhere via Iraq, during his visit to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on March 24. Al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, the official religion of Iran, does not hide his support for al-Assad and was quoted as saying in return that he did not have the sufficient means to control the planes and trucks carrying cargo to Syria through Iraq.

But al-Maliki, who ironically has political support from both the U.S. and Iran, has serious problems with his country’s own Sunni population. His decision to delay local elections in the Sunni-populated provinces of Anbar and Ninevah amid opposition criticism as to its “unconstitutionality” was another issue raised by Kerry during his Baghdad visit. That issue was discussed between Kerry and Davutoğlu, who expressed Turkey’s concern regarding the future of Iraq.

There is a discrepancy between Turkey and the U.S. over the licensing of energy sources in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) by the Turkish border; Turkey has pointed to American companies like Chevron and Exxon as examples for Turkish companies to follow, even as Washington says improving Turkish-Kurdish relations further weaken al-Maliki’s position.

The whole Syria-Iraq-Iran balance might change as Turkey’s relations get back on track with Israel following the latter’s U.S.-mediated, March 22 apology to Turkey over the nine Turks killed by Israeli commandoes in 2010. That might get Russia involved in the area again, as well as lead to lucrative energy projects between Turkey and Israel, thereby perhaps affecting the Cyprus issue as well, given the new energy sources discovered around the divided island and given the economic crisis there.

Davutoğlu also asked Kerry whether he had received his letter dated March 26 proposing a “new state of affairs” regarding Cyprus, with the involvement of Turkey, Greece and both communities on the strategically important eastern Mediterranean island. Kerry said he received the letter and would follow up on it, sources told HDN.

April/01/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Rimon Tree

4/2/2013 8:44:08 AM

@ Jobs jon what the h ell are "Jewists"? Should we name the people of Turkey "Turkists" now?

Faruk Timuroglu

4/2/2013 12:03:51 AM

Is this an opinion from Mr. Yetkin or just news? The origin of three religions and for them millennia of bloody wars around the world, the Middle East still is the focus of further conflicts and attention especially of US. US-Israel prepared the apology-trap at the right time, for which, RTE the magnificent, was craving, to use Turkey (Neo-Ottoman Empire) conspire new millennia’s bloody wars.

Jobs jon

4/1/2013 5:34:28 PM

Jim mentions an important point and that is true to some extent the the Islamists in Turkey and the Jewists in Israel show errogance. Oppersions will find a place to be remembered in history and may not be sustainable. Lets us who wins ultimately.

mara mcglothin

4/1/2013 3:55:35 PM

I doubt it JAMES HEADINGTON.

Al Rashid

4/1/2013 3:10:40 PM

The Turkish leadership and people are well aware of the unsavoury nature of modern zionism, the rampant racism, the growing nature of their apartheid state and lebensraum; and never forgetting the murders of humanitarian Turks. In reality the zionist state is a non-event to Turkey, which has far bigger economic aspirations throughout the world, befitting its size and location. It is therefore a pragmatic approach as the old maxim goes 'of keeping your enemies even closer than your friends'.

james headington

4/1/2013 1:00:27 PM

It is pleasure to see Turkey in falling in the fold of US-Israel-Turkey axis of evils in the region. No one in the world doubts the ill intention of the US- Israel towards the region which is one of division, subjugation and plunder. Mr Al-maliki feels this in his bones from the Iraq experience. Now why Turkey is falling in this trap, I do not know. I can only say, it is very naive from Turkish politicians to be happy with a hollow apology and fall fold with the enemies of people in the region.

alkan alkan

4/1/2013 9:18:05 AM

" The fragile situations in Iraq and Syria were discussed on March 30 during a telephone call..." The problems in those countries and indeed in the region are far too important to be briefly discussed on the phone. Unless certain instructions were being dictated by Kerry down the line ?

jim handley

4/1/2013 4:55:10 AM

I don't see Israel and Turkey doing much together actually. Too much hate coming from the Islamist AKP will not be forgiven or forgotten. I don't think there's any trust there. The first test will be to see if Turkey tries to ban Israel from NATO exercises again.
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