ME expert: "No ground for consensus between Ankara and Damascus"
Journalist and Middle East expert Fehim Tastekin said on a Webcast that Turkey displayed a contradictory attitude as it proceeded with military moves in Northern Syria, dispatching reinforcements to occupied areas and ramping up aerial and artillery attacks, while it announced its intentions to mend ties with Damascus.
Commenting on a recent attack on Tuesday in which a Syrian army post was targeted by Turkish forces, reportedly leaving three Syrian troops dead, Tastekin said that this was a move which was likely to cripple Turkey's recent proposal for reconciliation.
"It is not clear how this happened," he added. "We will see in time whether the attack resulted from a false intelligence or a provocation, or whether the Turkish administration still thinks it is free to do whatever it wants and underrates the capabilities of the Assad administration."
He went on to comment on recent remarks by the Turkish Foreign Minister who signaled a U turn in Turkey's Syrian policy as he proposed a reconciliation between Damascus and the Syrian opposition and a peaceful resolution of the Syrian civil war.
Stressing that the Turkish administration had no intention of dropping its plans to establish a 30-kilometer "safety corridor" in Northern Syria, he noted that Moscow proposed a revised implementation of the 1998 Adana Agreement, and that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be intending to use the proposal as leverage in possible negotiations with Damascus to demand an expansion of the formerly allowed depth for Turkish military operations to 30 km.
"We must see that such a demand would be unacceptable for Damascus," Tastekin said.
The Adana agreement had allowed Turkish forces to chase Kurdish fighters 5 km deep into Syrian soil in case the Syrian administration failed to effectively block the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Tastekin noted that the Syrian administration reportedly has two conditions to sit on the table with Turkey.
"The first one is the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria, and the other one is ceasing support for armed groups," he said.
"I don not think Turksy will take such steps in the near future. This is the main reason why the peace proposal is insincere and inconsistent."
"There is a huge gap between the demands of Ankara and the conditions of Damascus. There is no ground for consensus," he added.