Erdogan surprises Putin: Erdogan says Turkey to end Assad regime, Putin 'surprised'

15:02 Nov. 30, 2016

Erdogan says Turkey to end Assad regime, Putin 'surprised'

Erdogan and Putin (by Daily Sabah)

Russia's FM flying to Ankara for the explanations, Moscow hopes it was just ‘emotional' statement

The Turkish military launched its operations in Syria to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Nov. 29, Hurriet Daily News reports.

"In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and men. Where is the United Nations? What is it doing? Is it in Iraq? No. We preached patience but could not endure in the end and had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army," Erdogan said at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul.

"Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to return lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror," the president said.

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The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's statement that his forces in Syria were there to topple President Bashar al-Assad had come as a surprise to Moscow and that it expected an explanation from Ankara, Reuters reports.

"The announcement really came as news to us," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

"It is a very serious statement and one which differs from previous ones and with our understanding of the situation. We hope that our Turkish partners will provide us with some kind of explanation about this," Peskov stated.

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Erdogan's remarks will also be discussed during an upcoming visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Ankara, Russian Deputy FM Mikhail Bogdanov said on Nov. 30, Hurriet adds.

"That will be a good topic so as to clarify the intentions," Bogdanov said according to TASS.

Lavrov is traveling to Turkey on Nov. 30 and will hold a bilateral meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on Dec. 1.

Meanwhile, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the State Duma of Russia Alexei Pushkov said the aim of Ankara's offensive in Syria was not feasible. "Erdogan said Turkish troops entered Syria to overthrow Assad. But this goal does not seem feasible. Very similar to the political rhetoric," Pushkov tweeted on Nov. 29.

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In addition, Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, also said Erdogan's "emotional" remarks were unlikely to affect the current situation in Syria as well as relations between Moscow and Ankara, Ria Novosti reported.

"I think it was more emotional, inward application of the country, which is confirmed by the place where it was made," Ozerov said, adding that he did not think it "radically affected" the Turkish army's operations in Syria or Ankara's relations with Moscow.

On Aug. 24, the Turkish Armed Forces launched a Euphrates Shield operation with FSA fighters to clear the country's southern border of both the Islamic State (IS) and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces, which Ankara considers as a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Last week, a total of six Turkish troops, of them four in a suspected Syrian government attack.

Read also Assad forces attacked Turkish troops, Ankara vows ‘retaliation' 

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