Turkey condemns attack on Syrian Turkmen village, summons Russian envoy
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has condemned a bombing attack targeting Turkmen villages in Syria, while the Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador over the incident.
“From here, we are once more warning the Syrian regime. We have reacted to all the attacks aimed at civilians close to our border without making any discrimination in regards to whether they have been Turkmen, Arab or Kurdish, not only because they have been Turkmen. At the moment, 40 Turkmen are wounded. We are following the matter village by village,” Davutoğlu told reporters on Nov. 20 an adding Turkish officials contacted their Russian counterparts over the issue.
“In recent days, there have been many intensified attacks against Syrian people in general and against our Turkmen siblings in particular, especially in the Bayırbucak neighborhood. All of last night, we made assessments with our military, intelligence and diplomatic units. Before everything else, this attack has revealed how the Syrian regime is bloody and barbarian,” he said.
“First of all, we are against all kinds of attacks launched against civilian people. The second point, we are against all kinds of attacks leading to a new influx of refugees at our border. The third point: the Bayırbucak Turkmen are our siblings who have lived there for centuries, like other Syrians. We are condemning this barbarian attack against them in the strongest way and once more, calling on everybody to be sensitive to this issue. Nobody can legitimize massacres targeting our Turkmen, Arab and Kurdish siblings there by claiming to have been fighting terror,” Davutoğlu said.
Within minutes of Davutoğlu delivering his remarks, the Turkish Foreign Ministry released a written statement on the same issue.
Upon an order by Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov was summoned to the ministry, the statement said.
During the meeting with Karlov on Nov. 19, “It was underlined that the Russian side’s actions were bombing civilian Turkmen villages, not fighting terror, which may lead to serious consequences,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in the statement, which came in the form of an official answer to a journalist’s question.
Turkish officials told Karlov they wanted Russia to “end this operation as soon as possible,” Bilgiç said, noting the same kind of warning was also conveyed to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, during a telephone conversation.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported the Syrian regime forces expanded their ground operations on Nov. 19 to the Bayırbucak Turkmen area of the rural town of Latakia.
The agency cited local sources as saying that regime forces, with the support of Russian air strikes, conducted simultaneous attacks on the Fırınlık, Acısı, and Avanlı regions of the Turkmen mountain area near the border city of Kasab.
Ankara has traditionally expressed solidarity with the Syrian Turkmen, who are Syrians of Turkish descent.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced his concern about Russia’s increasing involvement in the Syrian conflict and expressed anger at Russian incursions into Turkish air space in October.
Russia’s air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have shifted the balance of power in the conflict and dealt a setback to Turkey’s aim of seeing al-Assad removed from power.
The Foreign Ministry said Turkmen villages were subject to “heavy bombardment” by the Russian planes in the Bayırbucak area of northwest Syria, close to Turkey’s Yayladağ border in the Hatay province.