Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria, policy different from Iran, Russia, US

Turkish President and the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the AK Party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on April 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Turkey says not siding with anyone on Syria, policy different from Iran, Russia, US

ANKARA: Turkey does not stand with or against any country on Syria and its policy in the region is different from that of Iran, Russia and the United States, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.
The comments by Bozdag, the government spokesman, were in response to a reporter’s question about an earlier remark from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Turkey’s support of missile strikes against Syria showed it had “separated” from Russia.
The United States, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday in a “one-time shot” the Pentagon said followed evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack using at least chlorine gas.
“Turkey’s Syria policy isn’t to stand with or against any country. There is no change to the policy Turkey has been carrying out,” Bozdag told reporters in Qatar.
“We do not have a united policy with the United States on the YPG issue, and Turkey’s stance has not changed. We are also against the unconditional support for the (Syrian) regime and we are at odds with Iran and Russia on this,” he said.
While Turkey is cooperating with both Russia and Iran to wind down some of the violence in Syria, Ankara has long demanded that President Bashar Assad must go and has backed rebels against him. Assad’s main supporters are Moscow and Tehran.
Turkey has also been at loggerheads with Washington over US support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish militants waging a decades-long insurgency in Turkish soil.
Turkey supported the air strikes by US, British and French forces, saying the move sent a message to Assad.
Bozdag said Turkey did not hesitate to work together with any country who defended “correct principles” on Syria.


In about-face, Iraq’s maverick Al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

Updated 42 min 4 sec ago
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In about-face, Iraq’s maverick Al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

  • Muqtada Al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month, campaigned on a platform to end sectarian politics and replace it with a government that puts Iraqis first
  • Instead, he has forged a postelection coalition with a rival Shiite bloc that includes some of the most powerful militias operating in Iraq — groups that get their funding and support from Tehran

BAGHDAD: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month, campaigned on a platform to end sectarian politics and replace it with a government that puts Iraqis first.
Instead, he has forged a postelection coalition with a rival Shiite bloc that includes some of the most powerful militias operating in Iraq — groups that get their funding and support from Tehran.
The deal underscores the active role Iran is taking in shaping the next government of Iraq, sending key military and spiritual advisers to revive a grand coalition of Shiite parties as a conduit for its influence in Baghdad. It also illustrates how Iran has gained sway over Al-Sadr, who once called for booting foreign influence from Iraq.