Turkey Adana Agreement

In a speech to the Turkish Military Academy on Thursday, Erdoğan hinted that the Russian proposal might work: “[The Adana agreement] was based on handing over the separatist terrorist organization to us. The fact that the agreement was reached during our discussions with President [Vladimir] Putin helps us to better understand that we need to emphasize this. Syria`s decision to expel Öcalan and negotiate with Turkey was linked to its concern about the strength of the Turkish army in the face of its own weakness. However, a few years later, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview that “Öcalan`s expulsion did not take place out of fear, but because we preferred you. We could either be friends with the Turkish people or prefer the Kurds and lose them. Because we preferred it with you, we sent Öcalan out. By signing the agreement, Syria recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization and promised not to support it financially, logistically or militarily. Until 2011, Turkey benefited greatly from the agreement in the fight against the PKK. However, when the civil war broke out in Syria, Assad was inclined to replay the PKK`s card against Turkey because his northern neighbor had taken a strict stance and criticized him. Article 1 of the Adana Agreement provides that “on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, Syria shall not authorize activities emanating from its territory and aimed at endangering the security and stability of Turkey”. However, several reports during the war indicated that Syria had given the PKK carte blanche on its soil and that even the Syrian security services had assassinated moderate Kurdish politicians to leave the PKK the way to remain in the Kurdish regions again. Turkey is now facing a serious threat from Syria, due to the activities of the People`s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “We believe that he (Putin) referred to this protocol, which implies that Turkey can intervene in (Syria).

And that`s positive for us. As part of the 1998 agreement, Damascus agreed that the PKK would not allow it to operate on its soil. However, the YPG is now entitled to an autonomous administration in northern Syria, based on the political ideals promoted by Öcalan. The new focus on the Adana agreement is reminiscent of some critical points. First, it means that Syria should be forced to extradite terrorists, in this case members of the YPG or the Democratic Union Party (PYD), either to extradite them to Turkey or to remove them from the country. But to wait for it from Damascus, Turkey must be in official communication with the Syrian regime. According to several analysts, the return to the agenda of the Adana agreement serves to pave the way for formal contacts between Ankara and Damascus and a new start for bilateral relations. However, given that Turkey is concerned about the possible power vacuum that will occur after the US withdrawal, it remains unlikely for the time being that meaningful contact between Turkey and Syria will emerge. Moreover, it depends on the measures Turkey could take against Kurdish terrorists in Syria, on the type of approach taken by Damascus towards the Kurds.

Ankara has been able to raise its security concerns due to the ongoing Astana process, including Russia and Iran, and does not need another platform to discuss its concerns. Turkey wants its borders to be free from the threat of terrorist elements in Syria, and Russia seems to understand these concerns. Putin and Erdogan`s positive remarks on the importance of the Adana agreement should be read in the context of the issue of a safe zone where Moscow and Ankara are on the same page. . . .



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