Turkey’s safe zone offer was sabotaged by allies: Erdoğan
Turkey’s suggestion to build safe zones in Syria was “deliberately sabotaged particulary by its allies, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Budapest on Oct. 9.
“Our proposal to create ‘safe zones,’ which would save the lives of hundreds and thousands of people and enable millions of them to stay in Syria, was intentionally sabotaged in particular by our allies,” the told Turkish-Hungarian Business Forum on the sidelines of his visit.
“First the Syrian people, and then the neighboring countries like Turkey, had to pay the price for the deadlock,” he said.
Turkey’s initial offer to build safe zones in Syria at the start of the civil war in the country, which triggered a refugee crisis, was not accepted by its NATO ally U.S.
Turkey and the United States will form a “safe zone” around the northern Syrian town of Manbij if Washington keeps its promises, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on March 15.
This was before the two countries agreed on begining joint patrol’s in the rebel-held region in June, an effort that is expected to come into force soon.
“I regret to note that the international community has not fulfilled its responsibilities in the solution of the refugee issue,” Erdoğan said in Hungary.
“As a matter of fact, refugees have at times been doomed to death in the waves of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. They have indeed been doomed to death by opening holes on their boats. We have all the footage of these incidents.”
The Turkish economy has been coming under speculative and manipulative attacks for the last few months, Erdoğan said.
“These attacks aim to impose on Turkey decisions contrary to its national interests about issues that concern its survival, particularly its war on terror. The steps Turkey has taken in Syria and Iraq to ensure its own security and the peace of Syrian people have disturbed certain circles.”
Along with its joint efforts with the U.S., Turkey has taken a key diplomatic role in demilitarization of Idlib, one of the last rebel enclaves in Syria, preventing a possible bloodshed, according to the international community.
On Oct. 8, Erdoğan called on the European Union to be sincere about Turkey’s accession process.
“It needs to be clear whether or not the EU will accept Turkey,” Erdoğan said during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban in Budapest.
“Turkey has been stalled since 1963. No EU member state was treated in such a way,” he added.
In 1963 the Ankara Agreement between Turkey and the European Economic Community — a predecessor to the EU — established an association between Turkey and the bloc.
Turkey applied for membership in the EEC in 1987, and it became eligible for EU membership in 1997. Accession talks began in 2005.
But talks stalled in 2007 due to objections from the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus, as well as opposition from Germany and France.
For his part, Orban said that Hungary’s security is “directly related to Turkey.”
“A stable government leading in Turkey is also a guarantor of Hungary’s security,” he said.
Stating that Turkey, like Hungary, lies along migration routes, Orban said it is important for Hungary that Turkey is stable to establish peace in the region and deter irregular migration.