In order to lay the ground for dialogue between Damascus and Ankara, Turkey needs to admit that it has invaded Syrian soil by financing and training terrorist groups, and show its readiness to withdraw from Syrian territories, according to Pierre Butros Merjane, head of the Syrian Parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission.
In a special interview with Kısa Dalga, Syrian MP Pierre Merjane shared his views about Turkey’s recent airstrikes against Kurdish groups in North and East Syria, as well as ongoing negotiations between the intelligence agencies of the two countries.
“Our soldiers too have been martyred as a result of Turkey’s hostile airstrikes,” Merjane told journalist Hediye Levent, referring to Turkey’s drone attack campaign on 19 November, which led to the killings of 15 civilians and the destruction of much civilian infrastructure.
Turkey’s aerial offensive, dubbed Operation Claw-Sword, targets the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Rojava, whom Ankara claims to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara initiated the last airstrikes after a bomb explosion killed six people and injured 81 others in Istanbul earlier this month.
The Turkish authorities accuse the PKK and the YPG of orchestrating the attack in Istanbul, while both groups strongly reject the allegations.
Merjane pointed to the 1998 Adana Agreement signed amid escalating tensions between the two neighbours over the PKK.
“When this agreement was arranged, Turkey did not have an aggressive attitude towards or fear of the Kurdish presence in Syria. Most of the Kurds are Syrian citizens. Apart from a separatist group of them armed, trained and emboldened by the United States, we cannot accuse the Kurds of treason,” Merjane said, implying that the Kurdish issue would be on the table if the two neighbours could find a way to re-establish dialogue.
“There has been contact between the intelligence agencies of the two countries without a mediator,” Merjane said. “Therefore, it is possible to move on to the second phase, that is, political dialogue, and the grounds for that can be the Adana Agreement and Turkey’s willingness to withdraw from Syrian soil,” he added.