Erdoğan highlights deal with Syria on terror fight
Vahap Munyar - MOSCOW
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the Adana Agreement can be beneficial in the fight against terrorism in Syria, as his Russian counterpart Russian Vladimir Putin suggested.
“The [Adana] agreement is an agreement that will make Turkey’s presence felt in the region. We need to bring the agreement to the table again,” Erdoğan told journalists aboard his flight from Moscow to Ankara on Jan. 24, referring to an agreement signed in 1998 by Turkey’s then President Süleyman Demirel and Syria’s then President Hafez al-Assad.
The Adana protocol is important and Turkey should work on it, Putin told Erdoğan, according to the president. Erdoğan stressed the protocol was still in effect.
“We’re in contact with all actors in order to eliminate terror elements in Syria,” he stated.
Asked how the protocol could be practiced now, Erdoğan said he refused to carry out any high-level contacts with someone “who forced the migration of millions and carried out the killing of nearly one million.”
Erdoğan also said that during his meeting with Putin, the Idlib Memorandum was also discussed.
“We will not let any terrorist organizations to be active in Idlib. We have the capability and ability to provide security and stability both in Idlib and Manbij as well as the east of River Euphrates,” he said.
“We care about the safety of our Kurdish brothers in Syria more than anybody else,” the president added, stressing that regarding Kurds as the PYD and YPG is simply not fair.
Erdoğan also informed that a trilateral summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran will be held in February. The political transition process will be approached at the summit, the president added.
“We have discussed the Astana process and the establishment of the Constitutional Commission with Mr. Putin,” he said.
When asked about whether U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s statements in Ankara can be regarded as a milestone on issues with the U.S. about Manbij and the YPG, the president said Turkey’s desire is for YPG militants to retreat from Manbij, as the U.S. and Russia have said they would.
Erdoğan also said that according to official Turkish figures nearly 1,000 YPG members are currently present in Manbij.
‘There is still a lot to do in Syria’
On the Idlib deal, there is progress, according to Erdoğan. “We have saved Idlib,” he said.
If Russia and Turkey have not cooperated in Idlib, hundreds of thousands of people would have been forced to migrate, Erdoğan said.
“We are carrying on with the Idlib process that we started in Sochi. However, there are radical elements trying to cloud the process,” the president said, expressing that Russia is discomforted by the radical elements and its discomfort reflects on to Turkey.
“We need to overcome these discomforts, as soon as possible. With Russia, we believe that we can provide prosperity and peace to Idlib,” Erdoğan stressed.
Regarding the U.S.-proposed 20-mile safe zone in northeastern Syria, Erdoğan said Turkey is ensuring the U.S. and Russia to clear “all terrorist organizations” from the region if they provide logistical support.