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    A Turkish soldier on armoured military vehicle patrols the border between Turkey and Syria, near the southeastern village of Besarslan, in Hatay province, Turkey, November 1, 2016

    Why Erdogan Terminated Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria

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    Zeynep Gyurjanli, a political observer of the opposition newspaper Sözcü, in an interview with Sputnik Turkey, looked at what’s behind Turkey ending Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria.

    “Few countries could hold on to  their positions on any issue when opposing themselves simultaneously to such two forces as the US and Russia. Recently, we saw how Russia and America, in order to prevent Turkey's accession into Manbij, positioned their forces in the region, figuratively speaking, at a distance of throwing a grenade at each other,” Gyurjanli said.

    The observer said that the Turkish leadership’s decision to end the operation in Syria lies in the referendum due to be held in Turkey on April 16.

    Gyurjanli further said that supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party admire the firmness and steadfastness taken by the Turkish president and he himself is also relying on that in the course of the referendum.

    However, the analyst said that such a firm stance on behalf of the Turkish government can result in a heavy burden for Turkey.

    “Spoiling relations with Europe is completely illogical because European countries as a whole are our largest trading partner. If relations with it finally come to a standstill then on April 17 we will face a very serious problem of investment stoppage,” Gyurjanli told Sputnik Turkey.

    Speaking about what Turkey needs to do in order to fix the current negative circumstances; the political observer said that Turkey must balance its foreign policy as it did in previous periods.

    “It is necessary to restore the balance, guided by the principle of Ataturk’s ‘peace in the country, peace in the whole world,’” Gyurjanli said.

    She further said that Turkey should use diplomatic channels in order to overcome difficulties.

    “I think the first step in this direction was already taken yesterday. The statement of the National Security Council on the completion of operation Shield of Euphrates is of great importance,” the analyst said.

    She did however express her confusion regarding why the operation came to such an abrupt end.

    “Have the aims that were set in Syria been met? Have the terrorists been destroyed? It is not very clear to me why Turkey went into Syria in the first place and why has the operation ended now,” Gyurjanli said.

    Talking about the country’s foreign policy she said that it should not become an instrument of influence on the situation inside the country.

    Until recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the advancement of Turkish troops toward Manbij and yesterday suddenly it was announced that the operation had been completed.

    “This can be seen as an indicator of an inconsistent political strategy,” the analyst said.

    The crisis in relations between Turkey and a number of its neighboring states has practically reached a point of no return. In addition, Turkey has become one of the main parties in the Syrian conflict.

    “No matter who comes to power in Syria in the future, Turkey will always be considered as a party to this conflict. Clashes with Syrian Kurds will also seriously affect Turkey,” Gyurjanli concluded.

    Ankara launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 to push Daesh out of the cities and settlements located on Syria's border with Turkey. The military intervention was also aimed at preventing Kurdish forces from moving further west and linking areas under their control into a single border region.

    The Turkish military and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army liberated the cities of al-Bab and Jarabulus as part of the campaign, creating a buffer zone in northern Syria.

    The announcement of termination of the operation made by the National Security Council did not specify whether Ankara plans to withdraw its forces from the region.

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    army, Syrian conflict, interview, operation, Operation Euphrates Shield, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria
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