'Turkey cannot impose buffer zone alone, needs int’l backing'

'Turkey cannot impose buffer zone alone, needs int’l backing'

Deniz Zeyrek ANKARA
Turkey cannot impose buffer zone alone, needs int’l backing

The situation on Turkey's borders with Iraq and Syria has been unstable for years. DHA Photo

Turkey cannot impose a buffer zone along the Syrian border without a U.N. Security Council decision, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Beşir Atalay said on Sept. 19.

Atalay also told journalists that a buffer zone alone would not be sufficient, stressing that a "no-fly zone" was required for the area to become a truly safe haven.

He recalled that Turkey has been asking for a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border since the crisis erupted in the neighboring country.

“[At the beginning of the civil war] we extensively discussed the idea of buffer zone. We held security meetings and decided it would be best to keep the refugees on the Syrian side of the border and provide for them there,” Atalay said, adding that the Foreign Ministry applied to the U.N. for a buffer zone decision but the initiative failed.

Turkey would have set up refugee camps within the safe zone inside Syria if the U.N. had issued the decision, he said.

If Turkey’s plans for a safe zone along the Syrian border fail, it will have to continue receiving Syrian refugees, Atalay added.

The AKP deputy chair also said an upcoming government motion to renew a mandate to send troops to northern Iraq, and another motion authorizing cross-border military operations in Syria, will be discussed in Parliament on Oct. 7 and Oct. 17. No decision has yet been made on combining the two motions, he stressed.