Peskov: Russia understands Ankara's security concerns

Russia and Turkey have differences on the Syrian issue, which they are “discussing constructively”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, noting at the same time that Russia understands Ankara’s concerns about its security and calls on “all sides” to avoid escalating steps and destabilization in the region.

“There are some different nuances in the approaches of Russia and Turkey to the situation in Syria and to what obligations were not implemented from the Sochi memorandum. These different nuances, sometimes even disagreements, were repeatedly discussed by the two presidents,” said Dmitry Peskov, commenting on Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement about Russia’s failure to fulfill its obligations to “clear” the Syrian north of armed Kurdish formations, as agreed in 2019.

The Russian President’s spokesman pointed out that “the friendly, corporate nature of relations with Turkey” allows these disputes to be “openly and constructively” discussed, noting that Russia treats “with understanding and respect Turkey’s concern about the reservation of its security”, which he described as “Turkey’s legal right”.

At the same time, Mr. Peskov underlined that Moscow calls on all sides “to avoid steps that can seriously destabilize the situation as a whole, which can act as a boomerang and further complicate the situation in terms of its security area”.

Shortly before the Kremlin’s comments, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had called on Turkey to exercise “certain self-restraint, so as not to allow an escalation of tension, not only in the northern and NE provinces of Syria, but also throughout its territory”, according to the special envoy of the Russian President for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev.

The Russian high-ranking diplomat represents Russia in the 19th round of consultations under the “Astana format” (Russia, Turkey, Iran), which began today in the capital of Kazakhstan, and announced that work on a “peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue” must continue . Mr. Lavrentiev confirmed that Turkey did not inform Moscow in advance of the launch of its airstrikes on the territory of Syria and Iraq, but the issue will be discussed at the meetings on the Syrian issue, which, apart from the three guarantor countries, are participating representatives of the Government and opposition of Syria, the UN and the observer countries.

Read also: White House: Turkey has every right to defend itself against terrorism

“We hope to convince our Turkish partners to avoid using excessive force on Syrian soil,” the Russian diplomat said, adding that the airstrikes “were prompted by the terrorist act in Istanbul on November 13.”

According to Mr. Lavrentiev, since the beginning of the year, Moscow has done everything possible “to prevent a ground operation by Turkey in Syria, and this has been successfully prevented”, according to his statements, broadcast by the Russian state agency. RIA-Novosti”.

“We consider it important that we will agree on our further actions in this direction to achieve a stable ceasefire in certain areas, because a ceasefire across the territory of Syria, which we are often called for, is difficult to achieve under the conditions as they are shaping up” . According to the estimates of the Russian special envoy “the fight against terrorism will continue” and “terrorist organizations, not only the Islamic State but also others, of various directions”, have been activated in the central provinces of Syria, in the South, as well as in the NE of the country.

Erdogan’s statements about Russia’s default in North Syria, however, provoked responses and comments from many other officials and analysts, such as the chairman of the State Duma Control Committee Oleg Morozov, who said that “the patrols of the territories, which abandoned by the Kurds, it is a joint responsibility, that is, Turkey among others”, underlining that “any violent actions in this region, if not mutually agreed upon, are dangerous in their consequences, as they destroy the fragile consensus and reduce the possibility of political arrangement”.

“It is unlikely that Turkey will start a ground operation in Northern Syria and Iraq, largely because of the position of its partners in the “Astana scheme”, Russia and Iran, but also the USA, which is categorically against a such an initiative”, assessed the director of the Russian Center for the Study of Modern Turkey, Amun Ganjiev, according to the Russian state news agency “RIA-Novosti”.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Upper House (Federation Council) Vladimir Dzabarov, Erdoğan’s actions and statements “are aimed at increasing the popularity of the head of state, as Ankara needs a “victorious war”, because Erdoğan is in difficult situation in view of elections”.

As the Russian senator remarked to the same agency, he has not heard “that we have to clear some territories from the Kurds, we are fighting the terrorists, the Kurds are being fought by Erdogan”, who has not kept his promises regarding Idlib, “did not clear it of terrorists”. According to Mr. Dzabarov’s assessment, “the case will not go further” (s.s. regarding the disagreements with Russia) than Erdogan’s statements, on the contrary, the planned joint energy projects with the Moscow.

According to the director of the Center for Military-Political Research of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Alexei Podberyozhkin “Erdogan has made it clear that he will respond to any terrorist acts against Turkey, the Kurds are now undoubtedly under the control of the US, they act together together them, that’s why the strikes, which Turkey managed, can be evaluated as strikes against its NATO ally, against the USA, among others, on those territories, which are in Iraq”, while Moscow very much wants to he believes, which is why he intervened with statements, that “there will be no escalation of the conflict”.

Source: RES-MPE

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