Turkish Deputy PM: Turkey Not in a War, Not Occupying Syria

Says Turkey Informed Russia, He's 'Sure' Russia Informed Syria

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numaan Kurtulmus sought to downplay last week’s invasion of northern Syria in comments today, insisting that  Turkey is “not entering a war” in Syria, and “is not an occupying country.”

Kurtulmus went on to say that Turkey informed Russia of their intention to enter Syria, and that “we are sure” that Russia informed the Syrian government about that, meaning that Syria’s government was fully aware of what was happening.

Turkish forces entered the city of Jarabulus last week, expelling ISIS from the area. They have since fought primarily against US-backed Kurdish forces in the vicinity, and despite officials previously insisting that Turkey was prepared to remain in Syria as long as they felt was necessary, Kurtulmus insisted that they have no intention of being a ‘permanent” presence.

Turkey has faced considerable international criticism for targeting the Kurds in Syria, though EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik today insisted no nation has any right to tell Turkey “which terrorist organization to fight against and which one to ignore.” Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted they consider the Syrian Kurds and ISIS to be equal problems.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • richard young

    If they were inclined to consult anyone before invading the sovereign nation of Syria, the Turks might have considered consulting the government of that sovereign nation. But of course that scenario assumes that Turkey might have some concern for the UN Charter or international law, which obviously is not the case. Meanwhile, our (US) Government preaches the Rule of Law and practices lawlessness. And so it goes.

    • Bianca

      Based on what I see — it seems like a heavy doze of strategic ambiguity.
      Russia and Damascus know — but must be “concerned”. as Turkey is now doing very dirty work of undoing the expanded Syrian Kurdistan.
      US allowed Kurds to expand into areas where previously they were minority and then with US permission ethnicay cleansed other ethnic groups. Creating Kurdistan would have allowed US to stay permanently in Syria protecting them from bad Assad. Kosovo scenario. But Turkey, Russia, Irsn and Iraq want to preserve Syrian territorial integrity — thus Turkey formula — stay as long as necessay but not permanently. Hint, hint — US will have to leave as well. None of this can be spoken by Russia or Damascus without causing an uproar. But Turkey can. Russia also has an office of Syrian Kurds in Moscow — and will be in position to promote their legitimate interests when time comes. YPG is in bed with US — so
      Neither Moscow nor Damascus are unhappy over stopping them and the ethnic cleansing of border regions. The tough battle is just starting — as Murds took quite a few of townships on the border. But Turkey now made other parts of US liance to switch sides — and are happy to fight for Turkey — nobody happier then Turkmen. Turkey can get their loyalty — Russia and Damascus can just say “cocerned” while chuckling off camera. Manbij will be tough as Kurds got reinforcements. But it will either fall or Turkey will have them isolated — and unable to move out of confines. This will make for interesting end game in Raqqa. With Kurds being “otherwise detained”. And two previous allies now with Turkey — who goes to Raqqa? Turkey? Syria? Helped by US or Russian air force? And think of Aleppo. Turkey can snap fingers and get 90% of those groups to sing from one sheet of music. She will clean them up amd focus on politics. Syria or Russia do not have the pull or authority to get them to accept reality.
      Also, Syria needs the authority to prevent criminals to partake in process. It is a stepwise process. Russia needs to talk to Kerry — snd should not be in possition to explain or justify Turkey. Same Damascus.

  • armdkny

    “Not occupying Syria”. Then what is it?? Are the Turks helping Assad, doing the Syrian Armies dirty work??

    Get your popcorn ready.