Turkey “never asks permission” from anyone before launching a military operation in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Thursday.
“We can exchange ideas, but we have never asked and we will never ask for authorization for our military operations against terrorism” Mevlut Cavusoglu hammered, warning: “It can happen overnight, suddenly”.
Russia and Iran warn Turkey
During a tripartite summit with Iran and Russia on Tuesday in Tehran, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been threatening a Turkish military operation in Syria since May, said he was counting on the “support of Russia and the ‘Iran in the fight against terrorism’. But his two counterparts had clearly warned against any operation in northeastern Syria that would be detrimental to the region.
The “promises were not kept”
Mr. Cavusoglu recalled that Turkey had “suspended” its operations in eastern Syria in October 2019, “following the promises of the United States and Russia”. An agreement signed under the auspices of Washington and Moscow promised the withdrawal of Kurdish forces 30 km from the Turkish border. But “these promises have not been kept. Attacks against Syrian opponents and our soldiers have increased,” said Cavusoglu.
“What would they do in our place?”
“What would the United States do in our place? What would Russia do? What does it say to justify its invasion of Ukraine? That there was a threat against it”. “We denounced Russia’s aggression against Ukraine from the start. But there are attacks against us from this area” of northeastern Syria, insisted the minister.
Three Turkish operations since 2016
Since 2016, Turkey has launched three major military operations in Syria, on its southern border, targeting Kurdish militias and organizations, and an offensive in early 2020 against Syrian regime forces. Part of northern Syria is controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish militia in Syria considered by Ankara to be an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey but also the United States and the European Union.