Turkey sealed deals with two world powers within 5 days: Turkish FM
“It will go down in history as a political success,” he told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Operation Peace Spring” and these efforts, in fact, averted a “terror state that terrorists wanted to establish,” the minister stressed.
The minister said there were “initial hesitations” just after the deadline of a pause in the Turkish operation into northern Syria on late Oct. 22 about the full pullout of the YPG.
Çavuşoğlu said the Turkish security authorities had a meeting late Oct. 22 after the U.S. informed that the YPG withdrawal was complete, and the intelligence provided from the field confirmed the pullout of the group.
The foreign minister said Turkish forces will “neutralize” any remaining YPG members they come across in areas now under Turkish control in northeastern Syria.
“If there are terrorist remnants, we would clear them,” he said.
His remarks came after the Defense Ministry signaled it won’t resume its offensive, following separate agreements Turkey reached with the U.S. and Russia.
The Defense Ministry on early Oct. 23 said the U.S. had informed Ankara the YPG completed their pullout from areas Turkey entered this month as a five-day cease-fire expired.
“At the end of the 120-hour period the United States announced that the withdrawal of the PKK/YPG from the area has been completed,” said the Defense Ministry.
“The Sochi agreement includes articles upholding Turkey’s border security and withdrawal of YPG terrorist elements 30 km away from our border. At this stage, there is no further need to conduct a new operation outside the present operation area,” the ministry added.
The deal with Russia - which foresees joint Turkish-Russian patrols after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces - would continue until a lasting political solution for Syria is reached, Çavuşoğlu stated. The border areas would be locally administered, mostly by Arabs, he noted.
Turkey agreed not to conduct joint patrols in the city of Qamishli, because of Russian concerns that such a move could lead to a confrontation between Turkish troops and the Syrian government forces who have long been present in the area, the minister stated.
Asked about revising the anti-terror deal “Adana memorandum” signed with Damascus in 1998, Çavuşoğlu said such a move can be realized only with a new administration in Syria after the political process in completed.
Turkey will take action to eradicate terrorist threats against itself if Syria fails to do so, he said.
“First of all, we have no direct contact with the Syrian regime. [But] contacts for intelligence can always be held. It’s natural,” he added.
“Secondly, the Assad regime has no capacity to implement the Adana deal even if it wishes to do so. It has no authority there [in northern Syria], there is a power vacuum,” the minister said.
Moscow had assured Ankara it would not allow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to cooperate with the YPG, he stated. “Could the [Damascus] regime cooperate with the PKK? It can but then we will do what’s necessary,” he said.
A limited number of terrorists might be in the region and, if so, their presence would be determined after the military cleaning, security sources who asked to remain anonymous said.