Araweelo News Network

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag


Ankara(ANN)-Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has slammed remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron that a recent US-led military operation in Syria drove a wedge between Ankara and Moscow.

“Turkey’s Syria policy is not a policy of being on the same side or being opposed to another country,” Bozdag said Monday.

The reaction came after Macron said the Saturday airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain on a number of Syria’s military facilities had a tangible result and that was a separation between Turkey and Russia.

“With these strikes and this intervention, we separated the Russians and the Turks on this issue… the Turks condemned the chemical strike and supported the operation that we conducted,” the French president said in reference to an alleged chemical attack on April 7 in Syria’s Douma, which the West claims was carried out by the Damascus government. The Syrian government has rejected the allegation, saying the US and its allies used the suspected chemical attack to launch airstrikes on Syria.

Bozdag, however, said Turkey’s policy on Syria remained unchanged even after the Saturday strikes, adding that Ankara differed with Russia and Iran, another major backer of Syria’s fight against terror, and even the US on the situation in Syria.

He told reporters in Qatar that Turkey “has different policies to Iran and Russia,” adding, “Until now, has the policy put forward by Turkey changed? No.”

Turkey-Russia ties too strong to be broken: Cavusoglu

In reaction to Macron’s remarks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that Turkey’s ties with Russia were too strong to be broken by France’s president.

“We can think differently but they (our relations with Russia) are not so weak that the French president can break them,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.

“We have strong relations with Russia,” Cavusoglu added. “But our relations with Russia are not an alternative to NATO relations or our allies.”

Although opposing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey has contributed to a trilateral initiative with Iran and Russia to de-escalate tension in Syria and bring about a political solution to the conflict in the Arab country, which has entered its eighth year.

The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey have held two rounds of high-level talks on Syria over the past months within the framework of the Astana peace process.

Turkey has also criticized a move by France to support Kurdish militants in Syria whom Ankara calls terrorists, with authorities warning that a French military presence in the Arab country would escalate tension and trigger confrontation with the Turkish military, which is now fighting the Kurds in northern Syria.