US, Russia displacing Turkey from Middle East policy

US, Russia displacing Turkey from Middle East policy
14:47 29 Sentyabr 2015
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Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 29

By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:

Russia, unlike the coalition forces holding military operations against the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (IS), is more seriously aiming at eliminating the militants in Syria.

This can also be confirmed by the fact that the number of modern Russian combat planes at an air base, located near the coastal city of Latakia, rose from four to 28.

Last week, the Syrian air forces for the first time delivered precision strikes on the IS positions using Russian planes.

And as a result, according to preliminary reports, they eliminated more than 150 militants.

Commenting on the Syrian air forces’ activity against the IS, the United States Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia’s actions in Syria could lead to a confrontation with the coalition fighting the IS.

But Russia’s activeness in the fight against the IS can’t lead to such a confrontation. It is worth recalling that the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has said recently that the US will continue to cooperate with Russia in the areas where their interests coincide.

At the same time, Carter noted the need to continue the efforts aimed at removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

Almost all the active players – the US, Turkey, Russia and Iran – have a common point of view on the fight against the IS in Syria.

Despite that, the parties have differences over Assad’s status but currently there is less and less disagreement about this among the US, Russia and Iran.

Only Turkey hasn’t changed its stance on this issue.

Earlier, Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made an interesting statement saying that Ankara wasn’t hurrying Syrian President Assad to leave the office.

“Before urging Assad to quit, Turkey was calling on Syrian authorities to carry out large-scale reforms,” said Davutoglu. “We asked the US to give Assad two weeks for carrying out reforms, but the US said after a week that Assad should quit.”

However, when the “Islamic State” emerged, the US political circles started to believe that Bashar al-Assad should also be used in combating the IS, he added.

On the same day, Turkey’s president noted that a temporary government with participation of Assad could be formed in Syria.

Turkish media assessed these remarks of Erdogan as a serious change in the country’s policy. Previously, Turkey has always opposed Assad’s staying in power.

It is clear that after the rapprochement of positions of the US, Iran and Russia on Bashar al-Assad, Turkey won’t change its policy on Syria’s president. However, it will switch to the “standby” mode on the Syrian issue.

For the present, it is too early to predict whether the verbal agreement between the US, Iran and Russia will lead to some real actions with respect to Bashar al-Assad. But it is already the second fact proving that Russia and the US have started to oust Turkey from Middle East policy decision-making, in particular from Syrian policy.

Earlier, the US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby openly supported the Syrian wing of PKK, stating that the Democratic Union Party is not a terrorist organization for the US, since it actively fights the IS.

Edited by CN

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Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency


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