Davutoglu also reiterated Turkey’s call for a safe zone to be created inside Syria to deal with the current refugee crisis.
Russia’s decision to join the war with air strikes on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad this week, and the increased military involvement of Iran, could mark a turning point in a conflict that has drawn in most of the world’s military powers.
Talking to reporters in New York over the weekend prior to addressing the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made remarks that clearly indicated Ankara is not on the verge of a major policy change on Syria, despite recent speculation to that effect.
Erdogan faces crunch elections on November 1 and analysts say he will want a few solid signs of progress to take home without giving ground in his implacable campaign against Kurdish rebels. “This tragedy will not end before the people of Syria have a legitimate government that truly represents their will and enjoys their full consent”.
Russia, by contrast, backs Assad and insists he must be involved in any solution.
While he did not directly mention the Russian air strikes in Syria, Erdogan told the parliament: “The people of Syria cannot be left to choose between the regime that massacres them and terrorist organisations”. Where? In Hama, Homs and around Aleppo. These attacks led to a number of innocent victims.
Erdogan has vowed to discuss the situation with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, days before Russia officially announced it was beginning strikes on Islamic State (IS) targets that later allegedly turned out to include broader groups of the Syrian opposition. “We demand it stop immediately and not recur”, said the Saudi representative to the United Nations. Chasing Syrian jets out of that region is one thing, but chasing away Russian warplanes would be quite another.
Earlier, the United States also voiced its concern over Russia’s move to hit non-IS targets. “Ultimately, the Russian move means Ankara will have to settle for much less than it had hoped for by letting the anti-IS coalition use its air bases”, the report concludes.