Turkey is not planning to occupy Syria and it is the only country operating there for humanitarian reasons, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on January 24.
“Our homeland of 780,000 square kilometers is enough for us … I’m saying this clearly, Turkey is the only country in Syria with a humanitarian cause,” the Turkish President said during a speech in the at the Turkish Military Academy in Ankara, according to the Daily Sabah newspaper.
Erdogan also stressed the importance of the Adana agreement with the Damascus government and said that the agreement should be placed on the table again. The Turkish President discussed the agreement with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow a day earlier .
Ankara and Damascus signed the Adna agreement in 1998 when the two countries were on the brink of war. Under the agreement, Damascus committed to prevent terror activities against Turkey. The agreement also included terms on cooperation in the fight against terrorism and establishing a monitoring committee.
“Ankara and Damascus can open dialogue over this security agreement and make cooperation against terror groups,” Putin said referring to the Adana agreement after his meeting with Erdogan.
Local observers say that Erdogan may be planning to use the Adana agreement as an excuse to resume relations with Damascus. In this case, the formal pretext will be to counter influence of Kurdish armed groups in northeastern Syria.