Analysis, Middle East, Side Feature

“The wheat has to be separated from the chaff”, but according to whom…

Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, who made evaluations on Vietnamese and Chinese press regarding the recent developments of Syria before visiting Far East countries, said the following: “It is true that we couldn’t come to terms with Turkey about identifying whether which group is terrorist or irenic/peaceable among the Kurdish groups. Turkey has a different vision about this topic than us. We do appreciate the concerning of Turkey especially about terrorism, however the wheat has to be weeded. Examining the Kurdish minority issue, it has to be determined with evidences, which groups are taken into account of being terrorist.’’ (Hürriyet Newspaper, 25.02.2019)


With the statement on 14 December 2018, Erdoğan expressed that “a military operation will start to the East of Euphrates within a few days.” Not long after, Erdoğan said the following by changing his mind: “The consolations and negotiations we made with Trump, steered us into holding a little bit more.” Erdoğan underscored that this period is not open-ended and indicated that there will be a military operation within the next months containing PYD, PKK and ISIS. Lavrov uttered openly for the first time that Turkey and Russia couldn’t come to terms about the issue of Kurdish people in Syria. Furthermore, he stated his opinion by these words: “We as Russia, believe that there will be a way out on the grounds of Adana Agreement in the year of 1998, about the terror problem on the border between Turkey and Syria. Because this agreement contains completely antiterrorism and provides intervention at a distance in Syria. Of course, there are negotiations ongoing between military officials though, on one hand, Turkey’s terrorism concerning has to be eliminated, on the other hand Syria regime has to accept this.”

In addition, before the Sochi summit last week, Erdoğan mentioned the difference of opinion before the bilateral negotiations between Ruhani and Putin regarding “the Safety Zone” that Turkey wants to create. Maria Zaharova, Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed before the negotiation between Putin and Erdoğan about the Sochi summit, that Turkey cannot create a Safety Zone in the country without Bashar Assad’s consent.  “The question of the presence of a military contingent acting on the authority of a third country on the territory of a sovereign country and especially Syria must be decided directly by Damascus,” Maria Zakharova said in answer to a question about the Turkish safe zone plan and added: “That’s our base position.” All these expressions shows that both Iran and Russia discountenance any military operation of Turkey to the East of Euphrates. Yet, if paid attention carefully to the statement that Lavrov made, it can be understood that Russia doesn’t consider PYD as a terrorist organization and repeated the support of Russia. As is known, there is an official office of PYD in Moscow and beside this, there were explanations made before about this topic. Despite all these explanations, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Cavuşoğlu, who went to attend the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, spoke to Sputnik. In his speech, he mentioned the following about the Safety Zone in Syria: “It is just outside our border, so it should be led by Turkey. But we have been always working with Russia, and we will continue, including Russian security and military people.” With this explanation, Cavuşoğlu underscored that they will continue their collaboration with Russia. By bringing the Adana Agreement forward, Russia, on the one hand wants to legitimize the Turkey and Syria relations while on the other hand expressed its discountenance about an operation of Turkey to the east of Euphrates in Syria.

By the Sochi summit last week, Ruhani stated that he shared the same opinion with Russia and didn’t take it kindly of Turkey to go on a military operation against PYD in the east of Euphrates. In other words, the two countries are stalling Turkey with this topic. Erdoğan wanted to profit from the operation for the upcoming local elections in March. But the things didn’t go well as predicted. America didn’t allow him for an operation because he currently needs PYD. America is using PYD as a legionary as well as Turkey for its own profits. Therefore America will continue exploiting Turkey and PYD as long as the circumstances are as wanted. It doesn’t matter how much Erdoğan and its foreign officials are wanting to launch an operation against PYD, it will be in vain as long as America doesn’t want them to. This because, Erdoğan has totally handed over his strength to America. Erdoğan’s statements on this issue are not worth a straw to America. As usual, Erdoğan’s actions are merely a dry thunderstorm… He makes a lot noise but does not set any actions.


Yılmaz Çelik