Presidential aide hails tripartite Ankara summit

Anadolu Agency– Turkey’s presidential spokesman described the recently concluded trilateral summit in Ankara as an “important step to clear Syria from all terrorist elements”.

On April 4, Turkey hosted a tripartite summit on Syria. In a joint statement following the summit, leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed to fight separatism in Syria. They also stressed the necessity of strengthening humanitarian assistance to the country.

“Without denying the complexities and challenges of the Syrian war in its current state, the Ankara summit was an important step to clear Syria from all terrorist elements, including Daesh, al-Qaida, al-Nusra, the PKK, PYD and YPG and facilitate the political process that will give the Syrian people their freedom, peace, stability and dignity — the fundamental rights that they have been denied for too long already,” Ibrahim Kalin said in his article for Istanbul-based Daily Sabah.

Kalin said the joint statement emphasized the three countries’ commitment to the “sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria”.

“This is a reference to the structure of a future Syrian government as non-sectarian, non-fractional, inclusive, democratic and pluralistic,” he said.

Kalin added that the stance against separatist agendas in the joint statement is an “important outcome and confirms that Tehran and Moscow share Ankara’s concerns over the PYD and YPG in Syria”.

He said that the terrorist group has not been invited to either the Astana or Geneva talks as a result of Turkey’s firm stance.

Kalin said Turkey’s fight against the YPG in Syria was not a distraction from the fight against Daesh, “to the contrary, it complements the fight against terrorism in all its forms”.

Eliminating all terrorist threats from all of Syria “must be the goal of all stakeholders”, Kalin added.

‘Syria stage for global power games’

In addition, Kalin emphasized that Russia and Iran have to use their leverage over the Syrian regime for it to respect the cease-fire and allow humanitarian aid to be delivered across the country.

“They also have to pressure the regime to follow through with the political process, which includes the writing of a new constitution and holding free and fair elections,“ he added.

In his article ,Kalin said that it is “no secret that the Syrian war has become a stage for global power games in the Middle East” with different views and priorities of the main stakeholders U.S., France, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia on how to end the war.

Kalin said that there are two goals shared — eliminating Daesh and maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity.

“But these two goals also lend themselves to different interpretations and, at times, serve different purposes,” he added.

“The U.S. administration says destroying Daesh is the main goal of its mission in Syria, but it has taken on different meanings over time. The evolution is from fighting Daesh to countering Iran and Russia in Syria, which requires different explanations,” he said.

U.S. presence in Syria

Kalin said that the U.S. justifies its support of PKK Syrian affiliates PYD and YPG forces — which Ankara considers to be terrorist organizations — in the fight against Daesh.

“It is becoming increasingly clear in recent months that the U.S. wants to stay in eastern Syria as a counter force to Iran — a policy supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE),” he said.

Kalin said that the issue is “clearly” not about Daesh anymore, “but about creating a new power balance in Syria and beyond”.

“The fight against Daesh is a secondary goal now, and the U.S. military has a problem finding justification to stay in Syria within U.S. law, which allows the military to operate in foreign lands only to fight against terrorism,” he added.