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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/24/22

Erdogan renews case for Syria operation at Tehran talks

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has renewed warnings that Ankara could launch a new military operation in northern Syria, as he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran.

The three presidents gathered in Tehran on 19 July for a Tripartite Summit to discuss the situation in Syria. The summit was held within the framework of Astana peace process launched in January 2017 at the initiative of Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

In a statement issued after the one-day summit, the three presidents said they discussed the current situation on the ground in Syria, examined the latest international and regional developments and emphasized the leading role of the Astana Process in peaceful and sustainable settlement of the Syrian crisis;

They expressed their determination to continue working together to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and condemned increased presence and activities of terrorist groups and their affiliates under different names in various parts of Syria, including the attacks targeting civilian facilities, which result in loss of innocent lives.

The three presidents rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries including through cross-border attacks and infiltrations.

They discussed the situation in the north of Syria and expressed their opposition to the illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues that should belong to Syria.

The three presidents also reaffirmed the determination to continue their ongoing cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate terrorist individuals, groups, undertakings and entities while ensuring the protection of the civilians and civilian infrastructure.

They expressed serious concern over the presence and activities of terrorist groups that pose threat to civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation area. They agreed to make further efforts to ensure sustainable normalization of the situation in and around the Idlib de-escalation area.

Addressing a joint press conference after the summit, Turkish President Erdogan said: "As Turkey, we see no difference between terrorist organizations such as DAESH or the PKK/PYD/YPG. We reject the rationale of using one as a proxy to fight the other. Our fight against terrorist organizations will continue permanently without caring where they operate and who supports them. We are determined to eradicate from Syria the malicious groups that threaten our national security. Our expectation from Russia and Iran is that they support Turkey's endeavors to that effect as the Astana guarantors."

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) is a Syrian affiliate of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The Yekà neyà n Parastina Gel (YPG) is Syrian offshoot of PKK. The YPG/PKK remains in control of large swathes of northeastern Syria with US backing.

Erdogan also said that the "PKK/PYD/YPG terror is a joint issue of us all. We shouldn't forget that this terrorist organization targets Syria's territorial integrity. We have a consensus that the conflict in Syria can be solved only through political settlement. On the basis of this understanding, we discussed in detail the current stage in the political process and the steps that can be taken in the upcoming period."

The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in Turkey and the US. But Washington has refrained from similarly designating the YPG/PKK and continues to partner with it in the region against the Daesh/ISIS group despite protests from Ankara.

The US claims the YPG/PKK is an "ally" in the fight against ISIS/Daesh, but Turkey says using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by the EU, but Turkey has complained that many European countries tolerate its presence and allow it to recruit and sell drugs to fund its attacks.

In its more than 35-year campaign against Turkey PKK has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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