Will Turkey, Syria renegotiate Adana agreement?

An ambulance carries a member of the Syrian Kurdish (YPG) militia, who was killed during clashes in Syria, before his funeral in Kirkuk, Iraq. Reuters
Updated 22 October 2019

Will Turkey, Syria renegotiate Adana agreement?

  • Unal said the Adana deal bound the Syrian government to fight the PKK on its soil, and to cooperate with Turkey on all related issues, including exchanging intelligence

ANKARA: With references to a possible renegotiation of the terms of an agreement between Turkey and Syria becoming widespread, experts say it may pave the way for reopening diplomatic channels between the two neighbors.
The 1998 Adana deal allows the Turkish military to enter 15 km into Syria to combat “terrorist activities,” and was used by Ankara to justify its latest operation. But the “safe zone” proposed by Turkey extends a further 15 km into Syrian territory. Egypt and Iran are guarantors of the Adana deal, under which Damascus ended its support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently said: “The Adana agreement between Turkey and Syria — still valid — can be the better path to achieve security. Iran can help bring together the Syrian Kurds, the Syrian government and Turkey so that the Syrian Army, together with Turkey, can guard the border.”
Hasan Unal, a professor at Istanbul Maltepe University, said any renegotiation of the Adana deal would require talks between Ankara and Damascus.
“Should these negotiations lead to normalization (of relations) between Turkey and Syria, it would be a major step forward in terms of putting an end to the war in Syria and stabilizing the region,” he told Arab News.
Unal said the Adana deal bound the Syrian government to fight the PKK on its soil, and to cooperate with Turkey on all related issues, including exchanging intelligence.
The deal “created such a positive atmosphere that for more than a decade the two countries moved closer,” he added.
Unal said the deal needs to be renegotiated to give Ankara greater advantages in its struggle against the PKK and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), while legalizing the Turkish troop presence in Syria.
Dr. Kerim Has, a Moscow-based analyst on Russian-Turkish relations, told Arab News: “Full implementation of the agreement requires direct and open dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.”
This, he said, “would reduce tensions and hostilities in the region, prevent a new conflict between the Turkish and Syrian armies, and strengthen the legitimacy of the Assad regime.”


Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi put forward to be next Lebanese PM

Updated 16 min 46 sec ago

Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi put forward to be next Lebanese PM

BEIRUT: Three major Lebanese parties have agreed on nominating Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, to become prime minister of a new government, the Lebanese broadcasters LBCI and MTV reported on Thursday.
The agreement was reached in a meeting on Thursday between outgoing Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, Lebanon’s leading Sunni politician, and senior representatives of the Shiite groups Amal and Hezbollah.
There was no official comment from the parties or Safadi. The broadcasters did not identify their sources.
Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29 in the face of an unprecedented wave of protests against ruling politicians who are blamed for rampant state corruption and steering Lebanon into its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.
Hariri remains caretaker prime minister for now.
Since quitting, Hariri, who is aligned with the West and Gulf Arab states, has been holding closed-door meetings with parties including the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which had wanted him to be prime minister again.
Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim according to the country’s sectarian power-sharing system.
Mustaqbal Web, a Hariri-owned news website, said a meeting between Hariri, Ali Hassan Khalil of the Amal Movement and Hussein Al-Khalil of Hezbollah had discussed recommending Safadi for the post.
MTV said the government would be a mixture of politicians and technocrats. Mustaqbal Web said the type of government was not discussed, and neither was the question of whether Hariri’s Future Movement would be part of the Cabinet.
LBCI said the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party allied to Hezbollah, had also agreed to Safadi’s nomination.
They did not identify their sources.
Safadi is a prominent businessman and member of parliament from the northern city of Tripoli. He served previously as finance minister from 2011-2014 under prime minister Najib Mikati.
Prior to that, he served as minister of economy and trade in the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who was backed by the West. He held that post again in the Hariri-led Cabinet that took office in 2009.
Hariri had said he would only return as prime minister of a Cabinet of specialist ministers which he believed would be best placed to win international aid and steer Lebanon out of its economic crisis, sources close to Hariri have said.