ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey does not stand with or against any country on Syria and its policy in the region is different from that of Iran, Russia and the United States, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.
The comments by Bozdag, the government spokesman, 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 United States, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday in a “one-time shot” the Pentagon said followed evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack 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,” Bozdag told reporters in Qatar.
“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.
While Turkey is cooperating with both Russia and Iran to wind down some of the violence in Syria, Ankara has long demanded that President Bashar al-Assad must go and has backed rebels against him. Assad’s main supporters are Moscow and Tehran.
Turkey has also been at loggerheads with Washington over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation linked to Kurdish militants waging a decades-long insurgency in Turkish soil.
Turkey supported the air strikes by U.S., British and French forces, saying the move sent a message to Assad.
Bozdag said Turkey did not hesitate to work together with any country who defended “correct principles” on Syria.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by David Dolan