Red lines discussed in the MGK

The predominant matter in the National Security Council, or MGK, meeting is Syria.

Especially, the “Safe Zone” matter is being discoursed.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, gave detailed information related with the diplomatic contacts he conducted.

MIT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, who has been well-versed on the Syria document since the beginning, made a far-reaching presentation. He explains it like he knows Syria like the palm of his hand, like the situation of the terrorist organization in the field, possible threats and the expected migration moves.

Now, it's the military's turn.

The decision of establishing a Safe Zone in Syria had been made after two Security Summits.

The point reached in the threat directed at Turkey's national security made it necessary for Turkey to take a step on the matter of the Safe Zone.

Actually, at the stage when the migration wave from Syria already exceeded hundreds of thousands of people, Turkey presented the proposal, to establish a “buffer zone” inside Syria, to the Western coalition led by the U.S. The “Buffer Zone”, which would be supported by a no-fly zone, had been implemented in Iraq after the 1st Gulf war: above the 32nd parallel and below the 36th parallel. Other than Saddam's Halabja Massacre, there had been no migration raid on our borders.

However, for some reason, the U.S. didn't implement this model in Syria. Rather, the U.S. did everything to spread the fire to regional countries, especially Turkey.

When the “Buffer Zone” idea failed to be established with our allies, as Turkey, we've made the decision to establish a unilateral Safe Zone.

The military stated that the previous written instructions of the government, within the context of the Syria memorandum, do not meet the requirements of the new situation, and requested a new instruction from the government.

The military asked for the instructions, which had been directed at the Syria government, to be updated accordingly to the activities of terrorist organizations like; ISIL, PYD and Al Nusra.

Prime Minister Davutoğlu immediately issued the written instruction, and asked the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) to begin preparations for the safe zone.

The military will not demand a new ordinance.

Following the instructions of the government, the General Staff updated the Operation Plans directed at the Safe Zone.

The General Staff made a detailed presentation over the updated Operation Plans during the MGK (National Security Council) meeting.

While we are waiting for TSK to enter Syria, a more nonchalant statement had been presented by the MGK.

Turkey is a big country. We are not a tent country. We cannot be expected to act with momentary thrills. We are passing through a period where we need to act nonchalantly. Thus, when I saw the cautious mood in MGK's statement; I've rejoiced.

Besides, the developments designated in Syria have an effect on this decision as well. When Turkey presented its determination, the Damascus regime stopped their attacks on İdlib. Instead, they are applying fortification in Lazkiye. From the Assad regime's position; Lazkiye is the last homeland to take shelter.

There was also information, related with the effect of Turkey's determination over PYD, being shared in MGK.

In the presentation over the updated Operation Plans; there was also another presentation with alternatives according to how much further the military will go in Syria.

Detailed information was included, like; if the army is going to enter 5 km. inside Syria, then how many armed forces will be positioned, or, if the army is going to advance 15 km. deep, then how many soldiers will positioned. The territories, where our brigades will be positioned, and the armed vehicles, which will provide the link between the brigades, were explained over anaglyphic maps showing the depth of the terrain.

Our forces, which will be positioned in the Safe Zone, will be covered by the Storm Howitzers, which had been positioned within our borders and have a 40-km. range.

Our forces in the Safe Zone will have both monitoring and fire power.

If there are any attacks on our forces, or, if any threat is felt; our air forces will come into play. Our air forces will bomb from the air, while our armed forces will interfere from the land.

The Safe Zone will be established in the 110-km.-wide Jarabulus Region, which is located between Kobani – Afrin and is controlled by ISIL. The plan is to enter 15 km. inside this line, which has 33 km. depth.

The “Red Lines” were also discussed in the MGK meeting.

Turkey has two red lines.

1- In the case that the PYD expands from Kobani to Jarabulus and cross to the west of the Fırat River; it will be possible for the PYD, who will be taking control over Jarabulus area, including the area which is located between Kobani and Afrin, and has a 33 km. depth and 110 km. length, to reach the Lazkiye port in their next step.

2- If ISIL attempts a big massacre, then this would cause a huge migration wave towards our borders.

I've come up with a third one while looking at my notes.

In the case that PYD captures the Jarabulus Region (Cerablus), Turkey's commerce line, which is passing within Syria towards the Middle East, will be cut. Here, we have two border gates, which are attempting to continue their duties despite the civil war; the Karkamış and Çobanbey gates. This line is not regarded as a commercial link; the area is also the attached importance from the point of the continuity in our relations with the Turkmens.

On the other hand, Turkey is trying to prevent PYD from controlling the region between Kobani and Afrin. Because in that region, there are dangerous games played between the Syria regime, ISIL and PYD. Our intelligence forces already fixated that the Syria regime and ISIL came together in Haseke. After these meetings, there had been important changes in the progress of the civil war in Syria.

In the MGK meeting, the updated Operation Plans related with the Safe Zone were discussed. Our red lines became clear. Now, we've entered a bigger diplomatic attack and military preparation process. According to the threat evaluation, we will move on to positioning our forces.

It's a difficult period.

If we are to return to the most important question of the day; we are not entering a war against Syria. Turkey's determination started to show its impact. The “Be prepared to fight, if you want peace” situation.

Since there is no threat directed at Turkey, it's not possible to enter a hot conflict. Going to war? Never, never, never…

#safe zone
#buffer zone
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