01:14 GMT +328 March 2017
    Turkish soldiers stand guar near the Turkey-Syrian border post in Sanliurfa (file photo)

    Infighting? Turkey's General Staff Concerned with Erdogan's Syria Policies

    © AFP 2017/ OZAN KOSE
    Middle East
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    The former head of the General Staff of the Turkish Intelligence Agency told Sputnik that the Armed Forces have been growing discontent with the Syrian policy of the Turkish leadership.

    Ankara's policy towards Syria, in particularly, the statements by the Turkish leadership, indicating the intention to conduct a ground operation in Syria, directly affects the Turkish Armed Forces.

    The former head of the Intelligence Department of the General Staff of Turkey, Ismail Hakki Pekin, spoke to Sputnik in an exclusive interview saying that he was sure that the Turkish Armed Forces in Syria do not have those aspirations that guide Ankara.

    “Naturally, they are obliged to follow orders. But I can say with confidence that the Turkish Armed Forces have never supported the idea of a military operation against a neighboring state.”

    Pekin further said that there is considerable opposition in the Turkish ranks towards the current situation. “There is an understanding that the overthrow of Assad, in fact, will not solve the problem. On the contrary, this step can cause more serious long-term instability in the region. In fact, it is in the interests of Turkey that Damascus strengthens its positions and establishes effective control and security at the border.”

    According to the former head, stability in the region would help Turkey provide its own security. “For many it is clear that instead of getting involved in a useless, very expensive and protracted war it makes more sense and is much more profitable to strengthen the Syrian regime and move military operations away from Turkish borders.”

    The former head of the Office of Intelligence stressed that Turkey's invasion of Afrin or Azaz can have very dangerous consequences.

    “The slightest move into Syria’s inland threatens us with a clash with Russia. Even a small-scale ground operation will lead Turkey into a deadlock. Meanwhile, there are signs that preparations for such an operation are being carried out.”

    Pekin said that the security measures inside the country are rising, and there are new methods being introduced in order to respond to external threats.

    “I think that if Turkey still dares to take this step and invade the territory of Syria, the consequences will be irreversible,” the head concluded.


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    security, border clashes, stability, military operation, Turkish Armed Forces, Bashar Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria
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    • avatar
      No military is obliged to follow orders that are against the best interests of their fellow citizens or the global community.
    • siberianhusky
      I thought the in the Nuremburg trials by the west that orders are orders excuse by the Germans is not an excuse for war crimes? Has the west now changed that?

      Or has America now adopted that mantra from the WW2 German soldiers.
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburn
      I suspected there was dissention within Turkish ranks in regards to Erdogan's policies. This is a hopeful sign.
    • avatar
      Politics has a flowchart that is similar to mafia operations:
      I give you gun and money, do your mission. If you fail, you have a price tag on your head. I give you my blessing.
    • Serve it hot ...
      I just wonder how a country like Turkey can exclude the entire regime of wise guys and let a bunch of Islamist mobsters rule/ruin the country.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
      jas, agreed and that has to come from the leadership and command structure of the army. It can't come from the soldiers themselves, I don't see the turkish army being in any way akin to the sailors on the Aurora. :)
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosiberianhusky(Show commentHide comment)
      siberianhusky, it's just my impression, but I do believe that america has taken on aspects of the third reich in their activities globally.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall, yes this is interesting as remembering the two Polish generals in their interview recently....elements of the military are starting to publically disagree with their 'political masters'????
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toServe it hot ...(Show commentHide comment)
      Serve it hot ..., agreed, but it's happening in a lot of places, just the labels are different. :(
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, The US Government has had to purge (As in fire/force into retirement.) the upper ranks of the US Military until they have come up with nothing but a bunch of self-serving yes men who will gladly do as they're told. The US lost some of their best generals over the Vietnam War when they refused to support it. I'm sure the exact same thing happens in other countries, because there are always going to be a few mavericks who place their sense of honor and the good of their country over political expediency and self-interest.

      The US is now in many ways virtually a reincarnation of Fascist Italy rather than Nazi Germany. But I think your comment to "siberianhusky" was on the right track nonetheless.
    • avatar
      I suppose someone ought to break this news to the dipstick Erdogan.
      Nah, why bother! It wouldn't make a bit of difference anyway.
      He gets his orders from Washington.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall, thanks!
      One of your phrases hit home - self-serving yes men... having undergone training myself in that field and with the people I knew, I have difficulty in imagining an officer without honour. Yes, I'm sure that there are many and there are those that treat the military as an active business rather than a 'service' - but still, it sticks in my craw. :)
      I'm glad to be a maverick! Probably would have been a revolutionary in the teens / twenties! :)
      I will give some thought to your image of italy rather than germany - I hadn't thought about the difference. :)
    • Beady-eyed Insomniac
      Believe the military discontent to have been simmering for some time.

      Nothing is more galling to a commander/officer or troops, is to go without various military equipment which has been requested, but denied due to budgets,..... but then to watch as $millions are spent on arming hill billies over the fence and keep them in supplies.
    • Serve it hot ...in reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, correct!
    • avatar
      Turkish puppet politicians have no foresight
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