The US conditions outlined by National Security Adviser John Bolton during his Middle East tour have yet again demonstrated Washington’s insincerity towards Ankara, former Turkish officials say, emphasising the role of the Astana guarantors in the Syrian peace process.
The ultimate outcome of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s visit to Turkey was quite predictable, as he did not come to find common ground with the Turkish leadership but to set conditions, Uluc Ozulker, Ankara’s former ambassador to France and Libya says

The former envoy emphasised that “it [was] absolutely clear that the solution to the Syrian problem can only be provided by the three Astana guarantor countries”, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran. “Other players, at this moment, do not have sufficient strength and capabilities for this”, he said.  

For his part, Professor Sukru Sina Gurel, former deputy prime minister of Turkey and head of the international relations department of Atilim University, said that the US delegation had negotiated the issue of providing a buffer zone for Turkey in exchange for Ankara’s consent to create infrastructure for a new “quasi-state” emerging east of the Euphrates.According to the former Turkish official, Ankara needs to establish a dialogue with Damascus in addition to its working relations with Russia and Iran.

At the same time, the former official expressed doubts regarding the possibility of a new all-out Turkish operation in Manbij, although Turkey had brought “five times more reinforcements to the Syrian border than during the operations in Jarabulus and Afrin”. 

“There is still uncertainty surrounding the situation in Manbij, while the situation in Idlib is deteriorating again”, he said. “Under these circumstances, the amount of human resources required for the operation in the territories to the east of the Euphrates may become unaffordable for Turkey”.

However, according to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, Ankara continues to prepare for a military operation east of the Euphrates River in Syria, that, according to the minister, will be launched “at the right time”.

“The Turkish armed forces will start to clear the areas east to the Euphrates River of terrorists at the right time for Ankara, as they had done before in others regions of Syria,” Akar stated, as quoted by Anadolu news agency.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dropped the hint that the Turkish Armed Forces would launch a military operation east of the Euphrates River if the US fails to withdraw its troops in time.

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