Turkey will not permit Syria’s division, Turkish PM says

Turkey will not permit Syria’s division, Turkish PM says

ANKARA – Doğan News Agency
Turkey will not permit Syria’s division, Turkish PM says

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) sits near Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, ruler of the Sharjah emirate, during the opening session of the 2013 Government Communication Forum on February 24, 2013 in the Emirati city of Sharjah. AFP Photo

Turkey will not permit any division of Syria that could lead to the establishment of a polity in northern Syria, which is mostly populated by Kurds, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“We do not want to see the problems faced in Iraq. We, Turkey, will not allow the construction of a northern Syria. That situation would give us different rights and permissions,” Erdoğan told a group of reporters on a plane while returning to Turkey from the United Arab Emirates.

Erdoğan said Syria’s unity was important for Turkey, adding that another Iraq was not wanted.

Turkey’s frontiers with Syria and Iraq do not merely border areas under the control of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a political offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), said Erdoğan, adding that the frontiers also open onto areas controlled by Kurds that are not affiliated with the PYD, as well as Turkmens and Arabs.

The prime minister also said he did not believe the Syrian crisis would last much longer. “The Syria issue will not continue like this. … I believe the last bend is being negotiated. The opposition’s attitude is significant here … they have many losses, 60,000 people, but they are in Damascus now,” he said.

Erdoğan said Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, did not want a divided Syria and would not allow such a scenario to take place.

Erdoğan said neither the Organization of the Islamic Committee (OIC) nor the Arab League was taking sufficient responsibility on Syria, adding that the burden was mainly falling on the shoulders of Turkey and Qatar. “We are expecting other countries to contribute. Turkey’s expenses are over $600 million.”

Erdoğan also said it was saddening that Iran had remained silent on Syria’s violence despite Turkey’s support to Tehran in the international arena. He also noted that Israel was searching for oil in the Golan Heights, saying this showed the country did not want an end to the crisis in the Arab republic.

The premier also said the United States had failed to develop a clear attitude on the issue over the past two years of the crisis, adding that it only issued condemnations.

“We expect something else from the U.S.,” he said, adding that Washington had to convince the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to effect a solution.