Erdogan: Those Who See No Military Solution in Syria Should Pull Troops Out

The Turkish leader says he wants the S-400 agreement with Russia implemented swiftly
Recep Tayyip ErdoganRecep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that those who do not believe in a military solution in Syria should pull their troops out, after Russia and the United States said no military solution was possible in Syria.

“I am having trouble understanding these comments. If a military solution is out of the question, then those who say this should pull their troops out,” Erdogan told reporters before flying to Russia, Reuters reported.

Putin and Trump adopted a joint statement on Syria on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam’s Danang on November 11. The document says that “the presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.”

Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as a planned Moscow-backed Syrian congress during an official visit to Russia’s Sochi.

Russia and Turkey have been cooperating in Syria, despite the fact that Moscow has been backing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, while Ankara is backing the opposition.

Three states –Turkey, Russia and Iran– are guarantors of the Astana Talks, which aims politically to solve the Syrian conflict, and it continues on the sidelines of the Geneva Talks brokered by the United Nations.

The Astana Talks led to the implementation of four de-escalation zones in Syria, one of which is in Idlib in the northwest, where Turkish troops and Russian military police are based to secure the zone.

Speaking to reporters before departing for visits to Russia, Kuwait and Qatar, Erdogan also said he would ask Putin to remove obstacles to visa-free travel with Russia.

The meeting will be Erdogan’s fourth visit to Russia following the normalization of Ankara-Moscow relations after Turkish jets downed a Russian SU-34 fighter jet in November 2015 when Turkish airspace was breached. The move was met with sanctions by Moscow.

The Russian-sponsored Syrian Congress on National Dialogue, scheduled for Nov. 18, has been postponed and the main Syrian Kurdish group will not be invited if it is held later after objections by Turkey, an Erdogan spokesman said last week.

  S-400 Deal

The Turkish leader also said he wanted its S-400 agreement with Russia implemented swiftly, Sputnik reported.

“We agreed with Russia on S-400 [supplies], the documents are signed. There are some technical details; we will discuss them and want to take steps to implement this deal as soon as possible,” Erdogan said.

In October, media reports emerged about deployment of Turkish military equipment and troops in provinces bordering Syria’s Afrin. Erdogan said that Turkey has proposed to Russia a joint plan of action on the Syrian city.

“We have taken under control our border (near Syria’s Idlib), Afrin is also a province bordering with us. We cannot ignore the threat coming from Afrin and we are determined to take necessary steps. We held talks with Russia on joint actions there. Their [Russian] positive view on our plans gives us new opportunities,” Erdogan said.


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