Presidential Spokesperson Kalin: Operations in Syria remain on the table.
Among President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief advisors, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said that Turkey enacting military operations in Syria is an option that remains on the table, despite objections.
According to news released on VOA, Kalin, who noted that the war in Ukraine “will not be won by either Russia nor Ukraine,” explained that Turkey would like to be a mediator in the peace process and if that a general peace is not possible, it would attempt to establish “regional ceasefires.”
With regard to Turkey’s veto of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO, Ibrahim Kalin added that “Before the elections in Turkey which are expected to take place in May, there is limited time to approve Sweden and Finland membership bids to NATO.”
Meeting with several foreign media representatives in Istanbul, among which was the French AFP news agency, Presidential Spokesperson Kalin informed them on Ankara’s perspectives on the international agenda.
After Syrian President Assad asked Turkey to end its operations in northern Syria in order to meet with President Erdogan, İbrahim Kalin’s comments that an operation in Syria still an option on the table drew attention.
Evaluating a possible operation in Syria, Kalin gave assurances that Turkey "continues to support the diplomatic process" initiated with the meeting held in Moscow late last December between the defense ministers of Turkey and Syria. Kalin said, “Depending on the level of threat we are exposed to, an operation is still an option on the table.”
A MEETING WITH SYRIA IN MID-FEBRUARY
Ibrahim Kalin also announced that the defense ministers of the two countries will hold a new meeting before the meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey and Syria, which is scheduled for mid-February. Pointing out the presence of Kurdish forces on Syrian territory, Kalin said: "We want security at our borders. We are never targeting the interests of the Syrian state or Syrian civilians."
Kalin underlined that after Turkey's last Syria operation in 2019, "the security guarantees made by Russia and the United States were not kept," and that the Kurdish guerrillas had not retreated 30 km from the border as promised.
“STOCKHOLM IS CONTINGENT ON THE AGREEMENT MADE WITH ANKARA”
Kalin also said that "the time is running out" for Sweden and Finland to approve their NATO membership bids before Turkey's elections, which are expected to be held in May. Kalin warned that this could take months, saying that Turkey's approval of the countries' proposals depends on Stockholm's "quick fulfillment of its anti-terrorism promises" made under the agreement with Ankara.
"Stockholm is fully committed to implementing the agreement signed in Madrid last year, but the judiciary needs another six months to implement the new definitions of terrorism," Kalin said. Kalin said the Swedish government should "send a clear message to terrorist organizations that Sweden is no longer a safe haven for them, they cannot raise money, recruit members or engage in other activities".
Referring to the presidential and parliamentary elections that are expected to be held in May, Kalin said, "We have a time problem if they want to join NATO before the NATO summit in June. Considering that the Parliament will take a recess some time before the elections, they have two to two and a half months to do all this.