Turkey distances itself from Iran, Russia and US on Syria

Ankara has also been at loggerheads with US support for Kurdish militia YPG

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speak during a joint press conference in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran say they stand against "separatist" agendas that would undermine Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In a joint statement released at the end of their summit meeting in Ankara, Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan said Wednesday they "rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism." (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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Turkey on Monday made a point of distinguishing between its own policies in the Middle East and those of Iran, Russia and the United States.

Turkey, said Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, does not stand with or against any country on Syria.

The comments by Mr Bozdag 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 US, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday following evidence that President Bashar Al Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, 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," Mr Bozdag told reporters.

"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.

Despite Turkey's cooperation with the likes of Russia and Iran - Mr Assad's main supporters - to abate Syria's ongoing war, Ankara has been vocal about wanting to see the president gone and has even backed rebels against him.

Turkey has also been at loggerheads with Washington over US support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation linked to Kurdish militants PKK, waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

On Monday three Turkish soldiers in southeast Turkey were killed by PKK fighters in a military base in Sirnak province according to security forces.

Turkey supported the air strikes by US, British and French forces, saying the move sent a message to Mr Assad.

Mr Bozdag said Turkey did not hesitate to work together with any country who defended "correct principles" on Syria.


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