Turkey has plan B if US fails to keep promises for Syria safe zone: Defense minister

Turkey will realize its plan B if the United States fails to keep promises it made for a safe zone in northern Syria, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sept. 3.

“We follow the fulfillment of promises on the safe zone issue with great sensitivity and carefully. We do not accept work without checking each of the information provided to us individually,” Akar said on his visit to the western İzmir province for the 2019-2020 Flight Training Year opening ceremony.

Akar said Turkey and the U.S. had agreed on a framework in the negotiations of the safe zone and a calendar was created.

This is followed carefully by Turkey’s commanders, he said, recalling a delay in the Manbij deal, another deal over a city elsewhere in Syria between Turkey and the U.S. “We still remember the promises made on Manbij and Raqqa. We haven’t forgotten any of this,” he added.

“In this context, the removal of terrorists from the region, the destruction of fortifications there, the collection of heavy weapons, missions of our helicopters, as well as our aircraft and jets flying there in the future, and the realization of patrols and establishing base areas,” he elaborated on the deal.

For this purpose, the Joint Operations Center was established in Akçakale, border town in Turkey’s southeast, where officials are working intensively, he noted.

“If there are any troubles in the promises made to us, if they do not fulfill them, our armed forces and the state of the Republic of Turkey have a plan B, and a plan C there. We are ready to put them into practice,” he stated.

On Aug. 7, Turkey and the U.S. announced that they had agreed to set up a safe zone in the northwestern Syria in order to address the former’s security concerns posed by the YPG from its southern neighbor. A joint coordination center was formed in Akçakale district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa in mid-August and Turkish and American choppers had conducted reconnaissance inside the zone.

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