Ankara goes its own way on Syr­ian al­liances

The National - News - - NEWS -

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.

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