After the U.S. missile strike on an Assad regime air base near Homs in response to the deadly toxic gas attack, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke yesterday to members of the local media in Alanya saying, "We hope that tensions between the U.S. and Russia do not accelerate due to the Syria matter and reach a joint consensus."
He further criticized the two countries for their support of the PKK's Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, saying: "The U.S. and Russia are competing with each other so neither loses leverage on the YPG. Such competition has no benefit for either Syria or the region.
"Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey is in no position to choose sides, referring to the U.S. and Russia, while reiterating that the Turkish government fully backs the U.S. missile strike against the Assad regime.
Touching upon the necessity of a transitional government in Syria, Çavuşoğlu noted: "The transitional government must be one that is accepted by all groups. Assad must not continue. The transitional government must prepare the country for elections. ... Thus, the [missile] attacks are not enough, the regime must go, right now."
Stressing that Turkey and Russia are both aware that they have had differences of opinion regarding Assad since the very beginning, the foreign minister affirmed that Turkey is in no position to choose sides, referring to the U.S. and Russia.
He had stressed that competing over each other to gain rein over the YPG in Syria has no benefit to the region, as Çavuşoğlu described the U.S. and Russia's competition for the YPG as "incompetence."
In regards to the matter of a safe zone in Syria, Çavuşoğlu stated that "safe zones" must be further enhanced, revealing that Turkey is making preparations on the matter: "We are currently preparing in this regard. We are discussing a potential safe zone with other countries as well as the U.N. and humanitarian aid organizations, engaging in joint coordinative efforts," Çavuşoğlu asserted.