Vladimir Putin calls Erdogan, forces Turkey to back down against Assad
Following telephone conversation with Russian President Putin, Turkish President Erdogan is forced humiliatingly to backtrack on his comments of a day before yesterday that the objective of Operation Euphrates Shield is the overthrow of Syrian President Assad.
2 December, 2016
Turkish President Erdogan’s admission that the ultimate objective of Operation Euphrates Shield is the overthrow of Syrian President Assad has provoked fury in Russia and a very strong reaction from the Russians.
Yesterday Dmitry Peskov, President’s Putin’s spokesman, made Russia’s anger very clear
“The statement was indeed news, this is a very serious statement. [It] is in discord with the previous [statements] in general and with our understanding of the situation. We hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners. Before making any judgments, we expect that this position will be clarified.”
Peskov also made it clear that Erdogan never said anything to Putin about overthrowing Assad during their telephone conversation on 26th November 2016.
The Kremlin’s account of that conversation was incidentally extremely short even by the Kremlin’s standards, merely saying
“The two leaders continued their exchange of opinions on the situation in Syria.”
It is in fact known that what happened was that Erdogan telephoned Putin to complain about the alleged Syrian air strike on Turkish troops north of Al-Bab, which the Turks say killed and wounded several Turkish soldiers.
The terse Kremlin account of the conversation suggests that there was a furious row, with Putin reminding Erdogan that unlike Russian troops, who are in Syria legally at the invitation of Syria’s legitimate government, Turkish troops are present in Syria illegally and contrary to the wishes of Syria’s legitimate government, and that for this reason the Russians are not in a position to help them.
Erdogan’s comments about the Turkish troops being in Syria to overthrow President Assad were almost certainly provoked by this row with Putin. It seems Erdogan came away smarting from his conversation with Putin and – as is his character – tried to save face by saying more than it was wise of him to say.
The result was another furious telephone conversation between Putin and Erdogan yesterday. The Kremlin’s account is again short and terse
“The President of Russia expressed condolences over the children killed in a fire in a girls’ dormitory in the city of Adana.
The presidents discussed current issues of Russian-Turkish relations, including bilateral contacts at different levels in the near future.
They continued their detailed exchange of views on Syria, including the developments in Aleppo.”
However on this occasion we have more information about the call from Putin’s aide Yury Ushakov
“I can only say that a telephone conversation between our president and Erdogan took place yesterday, and the topic [of Turkey’s presence in Syria] was addressed. Yes, he [Erdogan] gave an explanation.”
Today Erdogan has made public what that “explanation” was. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports him telling a meeting of village elders at his Presidential palace in Ankara
“The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation is no country or person but only terror organisations. No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to [misrepresent its meaning].”
In other words Erdogan has backed down. After his conversation with Putin he has now been forced to deny the truth of what he said just the day before yesterday: that he is seeking to overthrow President Assad. Instead he is once again being forced to pretend that the objective of Operation Euphrates Shield is not the overthrow of President Assad but the defeat of ISIS and of the Kurdish militia the YPG, both of which he calls “terrorist organisations”.
In fact the meaning of Erdogan’s previous comments of the day before yesterday was perfectly clear. Moreover they undoubtedly spoke the truth – as Hurriyet admits. As I have repeatedly said, there is no doubt Erdogan remains personally committed to the overthrow of President Assad. Not only his comments but all his actions confirm as much.
The fact that Erdogan has now been forced publicly to retract on what he said – which was true – and that he has been forced by Putin to do so publicly – must therefore be doubly humiliating to him. It shows how frightened of Putin Erdogan is, and who is the dominant one of the two.
As for the Russians, there is no doubt they know what Erdogan’s true intentions in Syria are. By forcing him to deny them in public, they have however demonstrated the extent of their ascendancy over him. That will make it easier for them to keep him in check and under control in future.
Russia Again Disciplines The Wannabe Sultan
The Russians just gave (again) a public lecture of how to handle the wannabe-Sultan Erdogan.
1 December, 2016
The Turkish military launched its operations in Syria to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Nov. 29.
“In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and men. Where is the United Nations? What is it doing? Is it in Iraq? No. We preached patience but could not endure in the end and had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” Erdoğan said at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul.
“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” the president said.
If Turkish troops were in Syria to remove its President, instead with the flimsy excuse of fighting ISIS under a badly fitting UN mandate, they would be a hostile invasion force and a legitimate target for Syria and its allies. The remark was thus stupid. It weakened the Turkish position.
Erdogan was immediately told so:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that his goal in Syria was to end the rule of Bashar Assad has caused consternation in the Kremlin, with officials saying it contradicted previous assurances and was out of sync with Moscow’s take on the situation.
"The statement was indeed news, this is a very serious statement. [It] is in discord with the previous [statements] in general and with our understanding of the situation," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
"We hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners," he said, adding that Russia is the only country whose armed forces are in Syria on a legitimate basis – at the direct request of the Syrian authorities.
The emphasized part is a hardly hidden direct threat. Erdogan put his forces in Syria into immediate jeopardy.
Erdogan tried to save the situation, promising a retreat from his statement for at least some gain for the Jihadis he supports.
Erdogan and Putin discuss #Aleppo for the third time this week: Disagreement over ceasefire? - November 30
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the grave situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by phone on Nov. 30 for the third time in a week, with the two “agreeing on the need for a ceasefire,” presidential sources said.
The sources said the two leaders agreed to step up efforts to stop clashes in Aleppo and deliver humanitarian aid to civilians in the besieged city.
That was the Turkish version of the call. The Russian statement on that call was sparse and did not mention any ceasefire.
Thus this translation from Diplomatese:
"I will take that statement back if you give me a ceasefire deal in Aleppo," Erdogan told President Putin.
"Screw you," was the response.
Lavrov said the bloodshed must stop in Syria and the region, that Moscow was ready to talk to all parties in the war, and that it would continue cooperating with Turkey. But he also vowed Russia would continue its operations in eastern Aleppo and would rescue the city from what he described as terrorists.
Erdogan's statement, aimed at his supporters in Turkey and elsewhere, created a legal mess for his troops. The attempt to sell a retreat from it for some gain was harshly rejected by Russia. Now all Erdogan could do was to take his statement back with no gain at all. This was quite a loss of face for him - a well deserved one.
Turkey’s military operation in Syria is not against any country or person but terror groups in general, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in contrast to earlier remarks that Turkey’s objective was to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following.
“The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation is no country or person but only terror organizations. No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to [misrepresent its meaning],” Erdoğan said at a 30th gathering with village chiefs at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on Dec. 1.
Hahaha - see how that dog pulls its tail between its legs - whining in retreat?
The game Erdogan tried would probably have worked with Merkel, or some other EU politician. Russia will have none of it. No means no. When Russia says stay out of Al-Bab it means stay out of Al-Bab. With regard to Syria Erdogan now has to do what he is told to do. He was just publicly lectured about that again. Still, I doubt that he really learned the lesson