Within the breadth of struggling with ISIL, Turkey is experiencing a new memorandum process.
As they did in the previous memorandum processes, the US is making an effort to show some matters, which are still actually being discussed, as agreed matters.
With this tactical move that they made in the agreement process, they are trying to blockade Turkey.
We are accustomed to the methods of the Americans.
It has registered in the thoughts of many that the US appears intently eager on two topics.
However, our priorities are different.
As a solution to the ISIL problem, Turkey wants Iraq and Syria to be normalized, the fair representation of the Sunni Arabs in the administration in both countries to be essential and the Assad administration to come to an end in Syria. This is being regarded as the permanent solution of the problem.
However, it is being understood that the US’ priority is not Syria and Assad. There is an existing opinion that Joe Bidden had noted down the Assad matter. Will this show that Assad had entered the equation? There isn’t any strong expectation in that direction.
We had concentrated on the topics of Kobane and Syria; however, our negotiations have shown us that the US’ priority is Iraq rather than Syria or Kobane. ISIL emplacements at Kobane are being hit by the coalition forces, though the main target of the operation is not Kobane.
This is no secret. Besides, it’s not like I’m sharing a completely unknown topic. US Secretary of Foreign Affairs, John Kerry had said, “Our priority is Iraq, not Kobane.”
Iraq being the essential objective of the operation has brought the topic of bases in Turkey into the forefront.
I would like to put a comma here and return to the negotiations with the US.
A committee from the US, which had arrived to Turkey in order to hold the meetings regarding the memorandum, had sat down with their respondents at the Presidency of the General Staff.
The Chief of General Staff Operations, Lieutenant General Erdal Öztür, who will moderate the negotiations, will return to Turkey after he completes his meetings in the US and moderates the negotiations. As for the ultimate decision upon points agreed by both technical negotiation committees, it will be made by the President of General Staff Özel, Prime Minister Davutoğlu and President Erdoğan.
The government directive, which had been prepared after the acceptance of the memorandum at the TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey), has been submitted to the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces).
The negotiations with the Americans are being operated via the government directive.
There are three points.
It’s beneficial to analyze Turkey’s priorities one by one. Because it is presenting a great importance.
1. No-Fly Zone: It is presenting great importance from the point of the monitoring of Safe Zones, which will be mentioned in the second clause, and also since the regime possesses war craft, it’s carrying the objective of taking precautions against a possible Assad intervention.
We want a Safe Zone model that will be established within Syria.
There is only one point that has been agreed on. The Free Syrian Army, or FSA, members’ training within the frame of “Train-Equip”. The FSA will be used as a local element in the possible land war. Also, after a while, FSA will be left with the responsibility of providing the safety of the Safe Zones.
At the first stage, a force from Turkey, which will be at the level of three brigades, is being thought of for providing safety of the Safe Zones. However, it’s not as if Turkey will be staying in Syria lands forever. In time, the FSA, who will be trained by the Turkish army and equipped by the American army within the frame of the Train-Equip model, is being predicted for this role.
During the meetings and discussions with the US, a point, which had never been emphasized before, sprang forward.
The use of bases.
The US wants to use two bases.
At this stage, we can remove the comma we typed before and continue from where we left off. The US wants to use these bases for Iraq, rather than the operation at Syria that is directed at ISIL targets. They want to use these bases for their warcraft during the operation directed at ISIL emplacements at Iraq. This is the matter that makes us feel uncomfortable.
After continuing their operations directed at ISIL targets in Syria, the US will steer to their essential target, Iraq. In other words, the essential target of the operation against ISIL is not Syria, but Iraq.
Due to this reason, the US wants either İncirlik or Erhaç. They had conveyed that they want to use İncirlik or Erhaç, because otherwise it will increase the cost of the operation directed at Iraq. Of course, if we allow them, they would like to use both of them. They had already desired many things before the March 1 memorandum.
However, no decision on this matter has been made. Primarily, Turkey will inquire about their purpose for using these bases.
If the No-Fly Zone or Safe Zone models are being accepted, then it seems like a reasonable demand for providing the safety of these zones. The airspace monitoring of the Safe Zone is a necessity. In that case, negotiations will be carried out for İncirlik or Erhaç. There are no problems at this stage. However, if both models are not accepted, either separately or in conjunction, and on top of that, if the utilization of the bases is being demanded for military purposes, then Turkey is against this.
The US is eager to use the bases in an operation directed at Iraq; as for Turkey, it is closed to their being used for the military.