Erdogan’s chief advisor on US presence in Syria

U.S. presence in Syria is not legal – Erdoğan’s chief advisor

Sep 20 2018

The United States is in Syria as an occupation force, and its presence is illegal, İlnur Çevik, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief advisor, said on Thursday in his article in pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper.

Çevik accused the United States of entering Syria through the back door and grabbing one-fourth of the Syrian territory in the east of the country where the oil and gas fields are situated.

Çevik said that Russia and Iran were invited to Syria by President Bashar Assad, while Turkey had to intervene to territories in the north of the country, to protect the country’s Sunni-Arab majority from the wrath of a dictator and violence of terrorist organisations.

“Who invited the Americans?” asked Çevik. “The U.S. is actually there as an occupation force, and its presence is not legal,” he said, adding that the United States used the pretext of fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) to legitimise its presence in the country.

Çevik also criticised the United States for cooperating in Syria with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, calling it “a great scandal”.

Turkish government recognises PYD and YPG as extensions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting inside Turkey for more than 30 years and listed as a terrorist organisation also by the United States.

Washington’s alliance with Kurdish militia in Syria has strained the relations between two Nato allies; however, the two countries agreed in June on a roadmap for the northwestern city of Manbij, which included the withdrawal of YPG forces form the city.

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“So those who think Trump and the Pentagon are the losers in Syria may well be wrong. They are currently at an advantage, but the real question is can they hold on to these lands,” Çevik said.

Çevik also said that the Russians and the Iranians seemed to agree with Turkey’s determination to push the YPG and the PYD to the east of the Euphrates River. Meanwhile, the United States is trying to hold on to its grip in Syria with such weak groups, Çevik said, advising the U.S. government to “sit down with Turkey and talk some real politics instead of just beating around the bush.”

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