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Turkey cooperation over Syria serves own interests: Analyst

This picture taken on August 24, 2016 shows Turkish army tanks standing by in the Turkish Syrian border city of Karkamis, in the southern region of Gaziantep. (AFP photo)

Press TV has conducted an interview with William Jones, a member of the Executive Intelligence Review, to discuss the remarks made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, saying Ankara will support an operation aimed at liberating a Syrian border town from the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

Here is a rough transcription of the interview:

Press TV: What do you make of this recent stance by Turkey because let’s not forget many do still question the Turkish government’s role when it came to the rise of these terrorist groups in Syria and also when we saw the border town of Kobani being fought over for control by terrorists, Turkey was criticized for not doing anything?

Jones: Absolutely. We have to understand that the world has changed and therefore Turkey has changed its policy. The change occurred largely because of the Russian intervention in the Syrian situation which prior to that was a Western move for Color Revolution. That did not go very far and was ending up in a quagmire until the point that the Russians themselves intervened, changing the course of the conflict, giving strength to the government forces and moving against the terrorists.

Turkey, which had taken a different stance, had been working in many respects with Daesh. It was an open border. Terrorists were going across it.They then shifted. They realized that the game is somewhat different now. They have been disappointed in their attempts to get into the EU. There was not a lot of hope with regard to any entry to the EU anytime soon and then of course you had the coup which is still unclear as to who was behind it.

Turkey of course feels that there were Western forces, including forces in the US, that had a hand to play in that coup and so that they shifted. That has really changed the whole situation in the Middle East where you have a growing agreement between countries like Turkey and Russia and also Iran. Then of course Erdogan is going to Tehran to hold discussions there. Regional powers and Russia are now playing a bigger role in the region and therefore it is creating a different situation with regard to the Western forces as well who have to take into consideration that the game on the ground has changed considerably.

Press TV: But then doesn’t this raise questions over whether Turkey can be a reliable partner when it comes to fighting terrorism within the region if Turkey is going to change its positions based on its own geostrategic interests?

Jones: Well obviously that is the reason why they will change their opposition. They feel it benefits them more to establish some kind of peace in the region and to work with Russia than come into conflict with Russia. After the shooting down of the Russian plane, there were tremendous economic consequences and potentially [a] military conflict between Turkey and Russia and that obviously was not in the strategic interest of Turkey. Therefore they are doing things which are in their interest.

I think that will continue because if it does succeed, if these countries, in spite of differences over specific questions, can come together on an overall strategy in dealing with Daesh and also if they can get the Western countries to begin to cooperate and not compete, we can have a situation in which the tensions are brought down and where you can see the possibility of development and peace in the region.

All of that would be in Turkey’s general interest and in pursuing those, they are going along the right path at the moment. As long as that remains a possibility, that is creating within this coalition a means of controlling Daesh, of limiting their influence in the region and of creating peace, that would be in Turkey’s national interest as well.

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