Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan fuelled Russia’s reservations concerning Ankara’s goals in Syria.
In a speech he gave at a conference in Istanbul the Turkish President stated that “the reason for the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces in Syria is to overthrow the tyrant Bashar Al Assad who exercises state terrorism. We did not intrude for any other reason.” This statement provoked an immediate reaction from Moscow which supports the Syria regime.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that “these statements are not consistent with the views of Russia and hopes that there will be a clarification from Turkey. We did not expect such statements. It is serious. We as a country are in Syria due to the request of the legitimate government of the country.” The spokesman said that during the Turkish president’s meeting with Vladimir Putin no reference was made to such opinions.
The representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mariya Zaharova said that “Russia will observe what has been agreed on Syria”.
One issue that may relate to the statements and the Turkish President’s reaction is a matter that took place six days ago in Syria. Two fighter jets bombed the headquarters of Turkish special forces situated in Syria as part of the ongoing ”Euphrates Shield” operation.
Four Turkish soldiers were killed and twelve wounded. The two fighter jets reportedly landed in Aleppo. The Turkish government has yet to announce who attacked. Turkish government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus stated on Monday that Putin made it quite clear they were not Russian fighter jets.
While in Turkey everyone suspects Assad, Ankara is avoiding making any statements on the matter. The involvement on the Syrian front is not only inexplicable but it will most likely continue./ΙΒΝΑ