14:34 GMT +314 December 2019
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    A Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier waves as they drive from the border back to their base in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 27, 2016

    Cooperation With Russia, Damascus is 'Turkey's Only Chance to Avoid War'

    © REUTERS / Umit Bektas/File
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    In a recent article for the Turkish newspaper Aydınlık, Ismail Hakki Pekin, former chief of the Turkish General Staff Intelligence Department, warned that Turkey is moving step by step to war.

    In an interview with Sputnik Turkiey, Pekin commented on his assumption, saying that Ankara has found itself in a difficult situation, particularly due to foreign pressure.

    "The United States and Egypt are trying to force Turkey to make certain concessions, including establishing a Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria and talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inside Turkey," Pekin said.

    According to him, if such a Kurdish entity is established Ankara would be "encircled from the south" and will have to fight a "war on two fronts," against Daesh in Syria and against PKK inside the country.

    Pekin underscored that in order to achieve its goal, Washington is providing military and logistical support to the PKK, including supplying heavy weapons, anti-tanks missiles and armored combat vehicles.

    "For Ankara, the only chance to derail this plan is to establish dialogue with Damascus and boost cooperation with Russia, Iran and Iraq," he said.

    Pekin underscored that Turkey should take as soon as possible certain measures to repel the threat.

    He also commented on the upcoming Turkish constitutional referendum on switching to a presidential system of governance.

    The controversial bill seeks to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers in a move described as a power-grab by the opposition Republican People's Party and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party.

    According to Pekin, the referendum could lead to social clashes in Turkey since it would only deepen tensions in the society.

    "I think that Turkey should preserve its parliamentarian system, and the referendum risks splitting the Turkish people. In the current situation, any results of the vote could lead to a social disaster," he concluded.

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    Tags:
    Kurds, military conflict, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Syria, Turkey, Russia, United States
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