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18 April 2014, Friday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Adana agreement paves legal path for Turkish intervention in Syria

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TURKISH PRESIDENT SÜLEYMAN DEMIREL (2ND FROM RIGHT) AND VISITING EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK (2ND FROM LEFT) IN ANKARA IN 1998, TOGETHER WITH EGYPTIAN AND TURKISH OFFICIALS, NEGOTIATING THE TERMS OF AN AGREEMENT TO AVOID A MILITARY CONFRONTATION BETWEEN SYRIA AND TURKEY. (PHOTO: AP)
9 April 2012, Monday /SİNEM CENGİZ
Using the provisions of the Adana agreement, signed between Turkey and Syria on Oct. 20, 1998, Turkey has the ability to classify the violent crackdown on the opposition by the Bashar al-Assad government and the ensuing refugee crisis as a threat to the “security and stability of Turkey.”

Article 1 of the Adana agreement states that “Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity that emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey.” The bloody crackdown on the opposition that has entered its second year has destabilized the country, with over 1 million Syrians internally displaced and nearly 25,000 Syrian refugees having fled to Turkey. The United Nations reports say that more than 9,000 civilians have been killed in the Syrian government's yearlong assault on protesters opposed to Assad.

As stability in Syria is long gone and the number of refugees crossing the border over to the Turkish side has climbed rapidly, this provision gives Turkey the right to take the necessary measures to contain the threat.

The Adana agreement also raises the issue of terrorism, especially the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) threat leveled against Turkey from Syrian soil. Article 1 continues, saying, “Syria will not allow the supply of weapons, logistical material and financial support to and the propaganda activities of the PKK on its territory.”

But, Syria -- which allowed Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK who is now imprisoned on the island of İmralı, to take shelter and direct the terrorist organization from within its borders for several years until 1998, the year when Syria had to deport Öcalan because of pressure from Turkey -- seems inclined to play the PKK card against Turkey since its neighbor to the north has taken a stern attitude and criticized Damascus when it chose to crush the demonstrations calling for reforms by firing at the protestors. According to the second article of the agreement, “Syria has recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization and banned all activities of the PKK and its affiliated organizations in its territories.” However, reports indicate that the Syrian regime started supplying arms to the PKK and its affiliate organizations in recent months.

The third article of the agreement states that Syria will not allow the PKK to establish camps and other facilities for training and shelter, or undertake commercial activities in its territories. The fourth article continues, “Syria will not allow PKK members to use Syria for transit to third countries.”

The last article of the agreement states, “Syria will take all necessary measures to prevent the head of the PKK terrorist organization from entering Syrian territory and will instruct its authorities at border points to that effect.”

According to intelligence estimates shared with Today’s Zaman, Syria has given the PKK free rein in the north, and Syrian security services have even assassinated moderate Kurdish politicians to pave the way for the PKK to reassert itself in Syria’s Kurdish regions.

Today’s Zaman has also obtained the transcript of the meeting during which the agreement was signed, which include a series of pledges made by the Syrian government of the time. According to these minutes, Syria promised that “Öcalan and the PKK elements abroad will definitely not be permitted to enter Syria, and the PKK camps will be prevented from becoming active.”

Relations between Turkey and Syria were thorny before 1998. The two countries were at the brink of war when Turkey threatened military action if Syria continued to shelter Öcalan in Damascus, his longtime safe haven. Besides Syria’s support for the PKK, which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by NATO, the EU and many other countries, the other contentious issues between Syria and Turkey included Syria’s claims over Hatay and water disputes resulting from the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP).

The signing of the Adana agreement marked a turning point in the relations between the two countries. The agreement established cooperation against the PKK terrorist organization, and relations subsequently flourished in all aspects, including politics, economics, security and culture, until the recent developments in Syria.

The Adana agreement was concluded after Iranian Foreign Minister Kemal Harrazi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa intervened on behalf of their presidents. The Turkish and Syrian delegations met in Adana on Oct. 19-20, 1998, under the auspices of these mediators to sign an agreement on cooperation against terrorism.

 
 
COMMENTS
Interesting comments and surprised how stupid people think, thinking that a state is held back or occupied by fear. Logical decisions and planning comes to options and tackticks. You think full out confrontation is the only thing Turkey has at its disposal, like Israel and the USA, we have covert op...
Senol
Any excuse to attack.Turkey Failure
VTiger
Kurds will not jump on Turkish military. PKK will, and Iran and Syria's support to PKK has been well documented (İbrahim Kiras is lying). FOR MONTHS, Kurds have been active against Assad but PKK cooperated with Regime to silence crowds protesting against Assad. Kurds against Turkish intervention thi...
memo is money
I knew from day one this was the intention of Turkey. The West is using Turkey as a toy for its operations. Any logical Turk living in Turkey could see that this is not a matter of saving "innocent" civilians from the "brutal" Assad regime, it's a matter of distabilizing Syria in order to make Iran ...
Syrian
Turkey has been pampered all these years and received help from the West for a reason, to do the dirty job for them, now has come the time for pay back,
Raffi
No matter what the news is, your comments are like always..full of fear..
Halil
I don't believe Turkey will, or indeed, can use the Adana Agreement merely on account of people genuinely taking refuge from Assad's force. I believe Turkey is worried that the PKK terrorists might enter Turkey from Syria, with Assad's blessing, pretending to be refugees. PKK used a similar tactic b...
Baris
I don't see how an unexpected refugee influx can set in motion "the Adana Agreement" whose core is based on terrorism issues. However, Tayyip Erdogan has been from the beginning of the Syrian Spring on the side of the Syrians "right" to have open elections and decide their leaders. But Mr. Erdogan'...
Nikos Retsos
Forget it! The moment you start an intervention, there will be war in the whole region and at the same time the Kurds will jump on you, are you really going to risk that only to be called "Friends of Syria"? This is an internal Arab affair and it is the duty of them to sort it out. It is only one of...
migo
“Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity that emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey.” Author have no relation with logic.It is also mean:“Turkey, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit ...
dimitrios macedon
If Assad is allowed to stay in power it will be a problem for Turkey as he will remember our humane aid to the people of Syria and our open crictisim of him and his regime. He will remember the guns support and advice how to kill and supress his people that his fellow so called muslim killing neighb...
dedikodu
What is Turkey doing interjecting itself into Syria domestic politics? Erdogan trying to play the big man in the middle east? Turkey has enough problems without extending itself into Syria. This can only end up a mess.
Yaacov
If Turkey continues to meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbour Syria how can it expect good relations with the present governmemt . Assads government will still remain in power and Turkeys relations with Syria and Iran will suffer .Turkey should stop its meddling .
mehmet
Lol , Turkey is the responsible of all of that , the terrorists camp on your territory are the problem of all of that.If you want war then go and we will laugh
Adef
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