PM: Turkey Will Not Respect Syrian Cease-Fire if ‘Under Threat’

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM)during the 2016 Budget Debates in Ankara on February 26, 2016. / AFP / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington, D.C.

Turkey will not comply with the expected cease-fire in Syria if Ankara’s security is perceived to be under threat, according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The landmark temporary truce in Syria has come into effect, reports BBC.

“If the ‘cessation of hostilities’ holds it would be the first time a pause in Syria’s five-year civil war has been negotiated by world powers,” notes the report, adding, “the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has announced that peace talks will resume on 7 March if the truce ‘largely holds.'”

President Obama reportedly warned the Syrian government and Russia “the world will be watching”.

“Russian jets were reported to have intensified attacks on Syrian rebel positions on Friday,” notes BBC.

Referring to the cease-fire, PM Davutoglu said, “This deal is valid for Syria, for parties that are in clash within Syria. This ceasefire is not binding us when any of the parties poses threat to Turkey, when Turkey’s security is threatened,” reports Chinese state news outlet Xinhua.

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), the military arm of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria, is a terrorist organization just like the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria al-Nusra Front, he added.

Turkey considers the PYD, backed by the United States, to be a terrorist group that is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.

Over the past two week, the Turkish military has hit PYD targets in northern Syria several times, pointed out Xinhua.

Ankara would not need anyone’s permission to carry out “security measures” when Turkey’s security was in jeopardy, declared Davutoglu.

“It will not be a Syrian issue but an issue for Turkey,” added the prime minister.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad reportedly warned last Saturday that his government will not allow Turkey to violate Syria’s sovereignty.

“The international community is responsible for the foolish acts of the Turkish government,” Mekdad said in an interview with pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, reports Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Iran, an ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, has said Turkey’s proposal for the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Syria is “a repetition of mistakes” made by the West.

“The solution to the Syrian crisis, which has negatively affected regional security, is merely political,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was reportedly quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency Saturday.

Turkey has pushed for a ground offensive in Syria that received minimal support.

“There’s no plans to put ground troops, at least on the part of the U.S., into Syria,” said Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman. The United States is Turkey’s NATO ally.

The U.S.-led war against the ISIS in Iraq and Syria is far from over.

Hurriyet Daily News and other Turkish news outlets reported on Thursday that Saudi Arabian warplanes deployed to support the U.S.-led military efforts against ISIS were expected to arrive at Turkey’s İncirlik Air Base on Friday.

“Four F-15E Strike Eagle jets will also arrive at the base, in support of the U.S.-led coalition,” noted the report, citing private broadcaster CNN Turk and comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu İncirlik Air Base to state-run Anadolu Agency.