Ankara goes its own way on Syrian alliances
Turkey yesterday made a point of distinguishing between its own policies in the Middle East and those of Iran, Russia and the US.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Ankara did not stand with or against any country on Syria.
The comments by Mr Bozdag were in response to a question about an earlier remark from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Turkey’s support of missile strikes against Syria showed it had separated from Russia.
The US, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday after evidence that President Bashar Al Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, using at least chlorine gas.
“Turkey’s Syria policy isn’t to stand with or against any country. There is no change to the policy Turkey has been carrying out,” Mr Bozdag said.
“We do not have a united policy with the United States on the YPG issue, and Turkey’s stance has not changed. We are also against the unconditional support for the regime and we are at odds with Iran and Russia on this.”
Despite Turkey’s co-operation with Russia and Iran – Mr Al Assad’s main supporters – to bring an end to the war in Syria, Ankara has been vocal about wanting Mr Al Assad to stand down and has even supported rebels fighting against his regime.
Turkey has also been at loggerheads with Washington over US support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation linked to Kurdish PKK militants waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
Yesterday three Turkish soldiers in south-east Turkey were killed by PKK fighters in a military base in Sirnak province, security forces said.
Turkey supported the air strikes by US, British and French forces, saying the move sent a message to Mr Al Assad.