Executive Intelligence Review


Turkey’s Cavusoglu Urges Turkey, Russia, and Iran To Cooperate in U.S. Withdrawal from Syria

Jan. 9, 2019 (EIRNS)—A number of statements from Asian and Russian leaders mid-week affirm the intention for diplomacy to support to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov today directly addressed the matter of continuing U.S.-Russia contacts. Speaking on a visit to New Delhi, he told TASS,

“The contacts on various aspects of the Syrian issue have not stopped. I don’t see anything extraordinary, sensational or special. These contacts are not always announced. The contacts are underway on different issues, and will be also held on other issues soon.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has proposed that Russia, Turkey and Iran—the “Astana process” guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria—cooperate to manage the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. He spoke today to the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He said, as reported in the Hurriyet Daily News and elsewhere,

“The United States has been facing several difficulties amid the process of withdrawing troops from Syria. We want to coordinate this process jointly with Russia and Iran, with which we had arranged work in the framework of the Astana process. [It is needed] in order for terrorist organizations not to fill in the void [following the U.S. pullout].”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Moscow soon, according to a report today from Moscow, saying that planning is underway. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there is no date set, but such a meeting will take place “in the near future,” according to TASS. The talks are to focus on Syria; and in addition, Russia supplying Turkey with the S-400 missile defense system.

Already in Moscow today, is the Iranian special envoy for Syria Jaberi Ansari. He will spend two days, discussing the Syria situation with Russian officials. Ansari has been Iran’s special diplomat at the Astana series of talks.

Last night U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton left Ankara, which he had visited along with State Department Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey and Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. Bolton met for two hours with Erdogan’s Chief Foreign Policy Advisor Ibrahim Kalin and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal. Dunford met separately with Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Güler and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Kalin gave a press conference after the Bolton meeting, in which he said that talks between Ankara and Washington will continue, as the U.S. has not yet completed its withdrawal plan, which would be completed in 120 days.

On Jan. 8 President Erdogan told a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) that Turkey will not compromise on its position that the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, YPG, is a terrorist organization. He also again denounced comments Bolton had made in Israel about guarantees for the security of the YPG. Erdogan said he would have to have another direct telephone discussion with President Donald Trump on the issue of U.S. withdrawal.