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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-08-25
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 161/16 25.08.2016
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Biden discusses the Cyprus problem with YildirimTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (25.08.16) reports that the Cyprus problem was one of the main topics on the agenda of a three-hour meeting held yesterday in Ankara between Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the US Vice President Joe Biden.
In statements at a joint press conference with Biden, Yildirim said that the negotiations in Cyprus are advancing positively. Claiming that the chance for a solution in Cyprus had been lost the first time, he alleged: "The Greek Cypriot administration should not lose the chance this time. Turkey has always been in favor of the solution. It will support the solution from now on as well".
In his statements Biden said that they will continue meeting with the Cypriot leaders and "we will encourage the establishment of a federation on the island". He noted that with Yildirim they discussed the issue of energy safety in the region.
Referring to the same meeting, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (25.08.16) reports that Yildirim alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side has always been a victim of isolation and embargoes and supported the solution. Arguing that the Turkish Cypriots will support the solution this time as well, Yildirim added that "even if there is an agreement in the end, we should not forget that this will be put to a referendum".
The paper writes that Biden said that they support the reunification of the island in a form of a federation.
 Ak?nc?: "If the Greek Cypriot side puts forward reasonable and realistic demands, our response will be the same"According to illegal Bayrak television (25.08.16), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has expressed the hope that a solution which will maintain a secure and peaceful life will be found as a result of the negotiations.
Ak?nc? commented on the Cyprus negotiations process during a speech he delivered at an event last night.
Stating that he was sitting at the negotiations table with the aim of reaching a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, Ak?nc? argued that the Turkish Cypriot "people" had been "isolated" from the international community. He said that they were working towards establishing a structure which will be on the basis of two constituent states with political equality and which will ensure a secure and peaceful life.
"I want everyone to know that if the Greek Cypriot side puts forward reasonable and realistic demands then our response will be the same", Ak?nc? added.
 Ozgurgun alleges that no one should be displaced with the solution to the Cyprus problemTurkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (25.08.16) reports that Huseyin Ozgurgun, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that it is reasonable to find a solution to the Cyprus problem in which no one is to be moved from the place they live in now as a result of the territorial adjustments.
In an interview with Radio Vatan, Ozgurgun reiterated the allegation that the return of occupied Morfou to its legal owners could not even be discussed. "Morfou is not an issue of bargaining. This is definite", he argued claiming that the 'give and take' process has been turned into a 'give-give' process for the Turkish Cypriot side and a 'take-take' process for the Greek Cypriot side, because "the Greek Cypriots continuously demand". He reiterated that they have "started serious investments in Morfou area" and that many things changed since the Annan Plan.
Ozgurgun said that they have asked from Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci the participation of a "government" representative in the negotiating team, but received no answer and this is why they repeated their request after four months. He described the "government's" participation in the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team as something "natural and necessary" and argued that this will strengthen Akinci. He also said that they have been briefed very late for many issues which caused them concern, such as, for example, the issue of deciding with simple majority in the House of Representatives after a possible solution. He claimed that this means that only the issues which the Greek Cypriots want will pass from the parliament and alleged: "This abolishes the veto right which caused the 1960 events. The Greek Cypriots wanted this. When you accept this, I wonder why the people struggled in the 1960's and why they died. Because the veto right is totally abolished".
Arguing that the solution should be within the UN parameters, Ozgurgun expressed the view that anything outside these parameters would be tantamount to surrendering, not finding a solution. Explaining which these "parameters" are, he referred to "protection of bi-zonality", "guarantee of the territorial integrity of the north and the constitutional integrity of the entire island", "Turkey's guarantees", "non-watered down bi-zonality" and "clear majority of territory, property and population in the north".
Asked whether they will positively respond to Akinci's invitation for going to New York, Ozgurgun replied that "if all is settled and a five-party conference regarding the security and guarantees is convened in the end, this will happen, if there is such a case, we will participate".
He further alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side is not without alternatives, that "TRNC" is a state with all its "institutions" whether it is recognized or not and that this "structure" should not be ignored. "We are not without alternative. This is what I meant when saying that we are not begging for an agreement. The Greek Cypriot side behaves in such a spoiled manner because it thinks that we beg for an agreement", he claimed.
 Burcu: No reference to names of places, map and percentages will be made during the new round of negotiationsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (25.08.16) reports that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has said that the leaders will discuss the issues on which no agreement is reached during the negotiations until 14 September.
In a written statement issued yesterday, Burcu noted that the efforts will be intensified on four chapters: Governance and Power Sharing, the EU, Economy and Property. He said that the two remaining chapters, that is, Security and Guarantees and the Territory, will be discussed within the framework of an "exercise of ideas", like it happened before.
Burcu argued the following:
"During the exchange of ideas on the territory, no reference to names [of places], map and percentages will be made. As we have said before, the issues under the chapter of the Territory will be discussed in detail and substantially only in the last phase of the negotiations and in a different format. The very last chapter, which is the Security and Guarantees, will naturally be concluded in an environment in which the three guarantor countries will be present at the last stage of the negotiations, taking into consideration that it bears the character of an international agreement".
 Akinci met with Eide; Eide: "The UN has great expectations from the current process"According to illegal Bayrak television (25.08.16), the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide has said that the two leaders will be venturing into all aspects of the Cyprus Problem during the current round of talks, even those chapters that haven't yet been on the table.
Eide also said that he had great expectations regarding the talks.
Speaking to reporters following his two- hour long meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak?nc? yesterday, the UN Special Envoy said that the meeting was constructive.
Reminding that the two leaders had started a fresh round of intensified negotiations, Eide said the first round of talks held in July was productive and that progress was achieved.
He said that the two leaders determined where divergences existed and that the outstanding issues were clearer at the moment.
"Both leaders seem more certain now on what needs to be done in concrete terms", he added.
Stating that the leaders had got to a good start at Tuesday's meeting, Eide said that the meeting was focused on organizing the remaining six meetings.
Reminding that an agreement had been reached by the two leaders not to comment on the substance of the talks until the end of the current round of talks on t 14th September, Eide said that all questions as to what happens next will be decided as the process moves forward.
"There is a key commitment which is shared and that is that time is of the essence. They are also agreeing that we are not rushing. The solution to which they are working on, need to last in the long run. We are trying to organize our time optimally".
Stating that he had great expectations from the current round of talks, Eide said that for the first time all issues were on the table without taboo.
"What is new compared to previous intensified periods is that all issues are on the table. We are not necessarily negotiating all the issues but we are at least in a brainstorming mode and we can make reference to those issues which have been left to the end of the process. It's good to be in a place where there are no taboos, no issues which cannot be touched upon but we have certain agreements such as not discussing maps and figures" he said.
Eide also pointed out that 4 of the chapters were largely completed but that there were several areas where the two sides retained their positions.
He said that opening chapters 5 and 6 to discussions will help finalize work on the other 4 chapters. "I see strong commitment from both sides. I see hard work and serious investment being done into preparing for these meetings. I believe that we can do important things until the 14th of September.
 Ertugruloglu accused Akinci of having "obsessions" at the Cyprus talks; Burcu replied that Akinci's concept is that both sides are winners in the Cyprus settlementTurkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (25.08.16) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Tahsin Ertugruloglu, in an interview at the Turkish Cypriot private channel Diyalog TV, expressed his concern regarding Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's "performance" at the Cyprus talks, claiming that Akinci acts at the negotiating table in a way to satisfy only his "political obsessions". Ertugruloglu also alleged that he does not see Akinci replying to the "extreme demands of the Greek Cypriots", adding that Ankara comprehends his concerns.
Ertugruloglu noted that he does not think anyone apart from them are working for a plan B in case there is no Cyprus settlement, adding that if there is anyone, they are not aware of it. He further said that he demanded to bring this issue in the agenda during his contacts in Ankara and during Ankara's contacts with other countries.
Commenting on Akinci's statement on his return from Ankara that "this is our last attempt, if it fails, we will continue our path", Ertugruloglu said that he welcome it positively. He argued that he thinks that this is a "change of statement", because he does not remember Akinci to have said such a thing before.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's spokesman Baris Burcu, replying to the Ertugruloglu accusations, said that Akinci sees the Cyprus settlement as the need of both sides and not as an obsession. Burcu explained that Akinci does not want a solution at all costs and his concept for a solution is that both sides will be winners.
 Atun said that they are willing to transfer electricity from Turkey to solve their energy needsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.08.16) reports that the self-styled minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun argued that they are willing to transfer electricity from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus with submarine cable, adding that this will be an unquestionably contribution to the human health, environment and renewable energy.
In a meeting with a committee from the chamber of electrical engineers headed by Mert Girgen, Atun said that with an investment of 50MW project in solar energy will gain them 42.5 million TL savings per year from the fuel oil cost. He added that their energy need is increasing every passing day. Atun explained that due to this, they will proceed to solve this energy demand transferring electricity with cables from Turkey. He added that they are trying to form an "energy office" and the "law on energy efficiency" will be completed soon.
 Akinci to attend the opening ceremony of the 3rd bridge over the BosphorusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.08.16) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will fly tonight to Istanbul to attend on August 26 the opening ceremony of the 3rd bridge over the Bosphorus strait as a guest of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a press release by Akinci's office, Akinci will return to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus on Saturday night, August 27.
According to Ankara Anatolian news agency (24.06.18), the third bridge linking the European and Asian continents in Istanbul will open on Friday during a ceremony that will be attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and other guests from abroad.
The bridge, named the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, after the Ottoman sultan famous for his conquests in the eastern world, will have eight road lanes and two rail tracks.
The third bridge over the Bosphorus is expected to be about 1.4km in length and 59 meters in width, making it the widest in the world when it is completed.
 Erdogan: "Turkish army in Syria in response to continuous terrorist attacks" ;"Those issuing threats should think about what will happen"Turkish daily Sabah (24.08.16) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have launched an extensive offensive targeting the DAESH-held Syrian town of Jarablus, in response to continuous terror attacks that have targeted Turkey's territorial integrity and national security.
Speaking at an event in Bestepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey's patience in the face of continuous terrorist attacks has ended, leading to the cross-border intervention.
Stressing that Turkey's response is a natural response to attacks by terrorist groups including the PKK, DAESH and Gulenist Terrorist Group (FETO), Erdogan declared: "You will not prevail, divide [us], and make us kneel." He added that Turkey has been targeted with terror attacks because of the crisis in Syria.
Erdogan asserted that Turkish domestic politics cannot be considered separately from developments in Syria, and added that Turkey will do whatever is necessary to protect its territorial integrity and national security. He underscored that Turkey will not let hostile powers play more games in Syria. "Attacks coming from Syria must come to an end."
He stressed that Syria's territorial integrity will be Turkey's top priority, adding that Syrian people will decide how the country will be managed. "They cannot put up with this", Erdogan also said.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.08.16) reported that Erdogan has harshly criticized the comments on the Jarablus operation by Salih Muslim, head of the PYD, who reportedly wrote on his Twitter that Turkish forces would face inevitable defeat, according to Reuters. "Turkey is in [the] Syrian quagmire. [Turkey] will be defeated as Daesh," Muslim tweeted in Turkish, Arabic and English.
Erdogan warned that threats from the latter will be responded to in kind.
The Turkish military launched the Jarablus operation against "terror organizations such as Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL] and the PYD [Democratic Union Party]", Erdogan stated and added that those who challenge Turkey should think about what will happen, "They challenged us. They said 'this and that will happen to Turkey in Syria.' Now I am addressing them: You should think of what will happen to yourselves," he said.
 Y?ld?r?m:" Operation Euphrates Shield to continue until YPG retreats"Turkish daily Saba (24.08.14-online in English) reported that Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m said on Wednesday that the operation led by Turkey to liberate Syria's Jarablus from Daesh terrorists will continue until elements of the PKK's Syrian affiliate YPG retreats to the east bank of Euphrates.
Speaking at a live interview on Haberturk TV shortly after meeting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Y?ld?r?m said that it is necessary to cleanse Jarablus of terrorist PKK-affiliated groups including the PYD and YPG. "This was a pledge, a guarantee of the U.S." Y?ld?r?m said.
He continued by saying that the timing of the operation has nothing to do with "KRG President" Masoud Barzani or the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Turkey.
Y?ld?r?m also said that it is necessary to protect Syria's territorial integrity and that it would be a disaster if all ethnic groups wanted to establish their own state.
"The situation would be worse than today if every single ethnic group established a state" he said, adding that Turkey is already paying the price of the conflict in Syria by hosting over three million Syrians and that it is necessary for these people to return to a normal life as soon as possible.
Yildirim also highlighted that even though Turkey does not see Assad as part of a permanent solution in Syria, it could still accept Assad as one of the sides.
He added that Turkey urges all sides including Iran and Russia to come together and find a solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
He also touched upon Turkey's relations with Egypt, saying that it is necessary to restore and normalize relations, as he noted the people of Egypt and Turkey are brothers. "It cannot continue like this" he said, noting that Turkey needs to fix economic and cultural relations with Egypt and this would benefit everyone.
 Erdogan met with Biden; Biden backed Turkey's operation to JarablusTurkish daily Sabah (24.08.16-online in English) reported that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Turkey's border must be controlled by Turkey only, and that there should be no occupation by other groups.
Speaking at a joint press conference with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex in Ankara following a 2.5 hour-long meeting, Biden reassured that the U.S. supports Syria's territorial integrity, shortly after highlighting that they also support Turkey's position regarding the existence of PYD along its southern border.
In response to Turkey's request to extradite Fetullah Gulen, Biden said that the Obama administration does not have the power to fulfill that request. "Only federal courts, not the Obama administration, have power to extradite Fetullah Gulen to Turkey," Biden said and apologized to the Turkish people for taking so long to visit the country after the brutal July 15 failed coup attempt.
He highlighted the U.S. support once again for the operation led by Turkey to liberate Jarablus from Daesh terrorists and said the U.S. commends the work of the Turkish army.
Biden praised the Turkish people's bravery and commitment to democracy once again, saying that the world saw the sincerity of Turkish citizens on protecting democracy on July 15.
Erdogan told Biden that the US can at least detain Gulen, as prescribed by bilateral agreements between the U.S. and Turkey. "According to the  extradition treaty with US, we'd expect Gulen to be detained, however he still manages his terrorist organization freely" Erdogan said and urged the U.S. to take necessary steps regarding the matter.
He also touched upon the importance of fighting terrorist organizations and said Turkey will never allow anyone to threaten its national security.
In response to a reporter's question which referred to Daesh as Islamic State, Erdogan said that it is wrong to refer to them as an Islamic state.
"Islam is a religion of peace; it does not send children to blow themselves up as suicide bombers in the middle of crowds" Erdogan said, and added that it is more politically correct to refer to the terrorist organization by Daesh.
 Yildirim met with Biden; The Jarablus operation and Gulen's extradition main issues being discussedTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.08.16) reported that the United States has firmly urged Syrian Kurdish groups to return to the eastern shore of the Euphrates River if it wants to continue to receive support, in line with constant calls from Turkish officials, while also expressing Washington's support to the ongoing Jarablus operation by the Turkish military along with moderate rebel groups.
"We have made it absolutely clear that they [pro-Kurdish forces] must go back across the [Euphrates] River. They cannot and will not, under any circumstances, get American support if they do not keep that commitment," the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told reporters at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m on August 24 in Ankara.
(?)Although the primary issue the two parties raised was Gulen's extradition to Turkey, Biden and Y?ld?r?m also delivered messages on the ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as the visit coincided with the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) cross-border operation into northern Syria.
In that regard, Turkey's concern that the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the U.S.' primary ally on the ground in Syria, has long been seeking to increase its influence and the territory it controls west of the Euphrates River was one of the major issues the two parties addressed.
For his part, Y?ld?r?m made clear that Turkey and the U.S. had come to an agreement that the PYD and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), should return east of the river following the successful operation to push ISIL off Manbij. Y?ld?r?m also called on the U.S. to reassess its support for the YPG to prevent an increase in danger, recalling once again that the PYD and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were the same.
"We have a full agreement with the United States on what's happening, which is that the PYD shouldn't come west of [the] Euphrates or engage in activities west of the river. We assessed this in our meeting and once again see [the] determination of the U.S. about the issue, so [the] PYG will not have [a] presence in the west of the Euphrates. So our general take is that we know for a fact that they [the PYD] are working hand-in-hand with the PKK," Y?ld?r?m said.
Underlining that Turkey's main policy towards Syria was to keep its southern neighbor's territorial integrity, Y?ld?r?m vowed that Turkey would not accept the creation of a new Kurdish entity inside Syria.
On Turkey's military operation inside Syria pushing elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to liberate Jarablus from ISIL, Biden hailed Turkey's continued determinism against the jihadists in the aftermath of the July 15 failed coup attempt, which dealt a huge blow to the TSK.
Biden also commented on the July 15 failed coup attempt and underlined that he was sent to Turkey by U.S. President Barack Obama to show American support and solidarity with Turkey's people and democracy. "Thank God you were not at your office at the Parliament," Biden told Y?ld?r?m, while sharing his impressions about the ruined parliament.
"Don't feel offended, but, I must say that the best friend of Turkey is the United States," he said, adding they immediately stood with Turkey on the coup night. "Let me be clear, I want to ease any speculation, some of which I have heard, as to whether or not the U.S. had some advance warning, some fore knowledge of complicity," he said.
On Turkey's expectation of Gulen's extradition, Biden said: "I understand the intense feeling your government and the people of Turkey have about him [Gulen]. We are cooperating with the Turkish authorities. The U.S. had no intention of protecting a person who harms its ally". Biden, however, made clear the decision would be given by the U.S. courts upon the evidence provided by Turkey.
"We are cooperating with Turkish authorities, our legal experts are working right now with [their] Turkish counterparts on [the] production of and evaluation of material and evidence that needs to be supplied to an American court to meet requirements under our law and the extradition treaty, and we'll continue to do so as you continue to bring forward additional information," he stressed.
Y?ld?r?m on the other hand made clear that the strategic partnership between the two countries necessitated the U.S. to hand over Gulen to Turkey, which could turn the negative feelings towards the U.S. positive.
"Our greatest expectation would be that we don't lose any time conducting these processes and I believe the final expectation [is] clear," Yildirim added.
 CHP and HDP on the Jarablus operationTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.08.16) reported that Turkey's main opposition party (CHP) has lent support to Operation Euphrates Shield, which it labeled as "belated," while also calling on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for "a sincere fight" against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inside the country as well.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) argued that the AKP government had dragged the country into "a vortex of war without even feeling the need to consult with Parliament, which is the will of the people."
"ISIL continues being one of the most significant threat elements for the region and Turkey," Selin Sayek Boke, the spokesperson for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said at a press conference after CHP leader Kemal K?licdaroglu chaired a regular meeting of his party's Central Executive Board (MYK).
"Unfortunately, the issue of fighting against this monster both inside and outside has run too late," Boke added. "From here, we are once more making an open call to the government. We are calling [on the government] to [engage in] a sincere fight against ISIL, not only in Jarablus, but also inside our own territories," Boke also said.
Concerning Operation Euphrates Shield, the HDP's MYK released a written statement in which they said that "Turkey has de facto entered the Syrian war."
"What needs to be done, instead of the government policies which can be summarized as 'War inside, war outside,' is an urgent return to the resolution process in order to ensure Turkey's civil peace and forming an alliance with Kurds and other democratic forces outside of the country," the HDP said.
 Germany and France expressed support to Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield to liberate JarablusTurkish daily Sabah (24.08.16) reported that messages of support were issued in European capitals on Wednesday in response to Turkey's operation against Daesh around the northern Syrian city of Jarablus.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said that the Euphrates Shield operation was part of international efforts to overcome Daesh in the region. "I believe Turkey is acting in accordance with the anti-Daesh coalition's aims and objectives," Schaefer said at a news conference.
He added that Turkish concerns about Syrian Kurdish groups in the region must also be acknowledged. "Turkey is acting on the understanding that one section of the Kurds in Syria is linked to the PKK, which we also consider a terrorist organization," Schaefer said.
"We respect this position. We believe Turkey's struggle against terrorist actions is legitimate and we support Turkey in this regard."
Meanwhile, France welcomed "the intensification of Turkey's efforts, a coalition partner in the fight against Daesh," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It said a concentration of partner efforts of the international coalition was needed to defeat the organization.
The Ministry also called for continued efforts to solve the Syrian conflict, which it said "can only be achieved through a political transition in line with Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council."
 Turkish stocks, lira open lower amid military operationTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.08.16) reports that the Turkish stocks opened lower on August 24 after the Turkish Armed Forces hit targets in northern Syria as part of anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) operations, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Borsa Istanbul's BIST-100 share index lost 1,041.71 points (1.35%) at the opening of the morning session, falling to 76,290.90. The banking and holding sectors were down 1.72% and 1.33%respectively.
The Turkish Lira also lost value, opening trading at over 2.96 against the U.S. dollar, from 2.9375 at the close of August 23.
 "Turkey's Jarablus move: What does it mean?"Under the above title, columnist Murat Yektin in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.08.16) writes the following: "[?] The operation, code named 'Euphrates Shield", targeted the taking of Jarablus, very close to the Turkish border, from the hands of ISIL. The decision to stage it was taken during an emergency meeting in Istanbul on August 20.
The reason why Turkey took the risk of getting involved in a military operation in a neighboring country embroiled in a civil war for the last five years was the intelligence reports reaching Ankara about the Jarablus-bound advances of the People's Protection Units (YPG). The YPG is the militia of the Democratic Unity Party (PYD), the Syria branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been involved in an armed campaign against Turkey since 1984. The YPG units were the dominant part of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), which took the town of Manbij, south of Jarablus, from ISIL on August 12, with heavy support from the U.S. with its air forces and special forces.
Right after that, Turkey reminded the U.S. of the promise it gave to not allow the PYD forces to remain west of the Euphrates river after clearing Manbij. The Pentagon announced that the U.S. would honor its promise but they needed more time. When the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) got reports that the PYD had continued to move to take Jarablus itself, the Turkish government decided to take the initiative.
Jarablus is important to Turkey for three main reasons:
1- It is located on the west bank of the Euphrates, where the river flows out of Turkish territory. It was not only the last available place for the infiltration of ISIL militants into and out of Turkey; it was also the only important settlement in the hands of ISIL left along the 910 km Turkey-Syria border. Removing ISIL from Jarablus would have meant cutting all its main routes to the north of Syria, to Turkey and beyond.
2- The ISIL militants who escaped from Manbij had moved to Jarablus, increasing their presence on the Turkish border to critical levels. The Turkish government suspects that it was ISIL that carried out the bomb attack on a wedding party in Gaziantep on the night of August 20, which killed 54 people, 30 of them children. RDX was the explosive compound used in the bomb, which Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said showed ISIL might have received "professional help," thus further upgrading the ISIL threat to Turkey.
3- If the PYD had taken Jarablus from ISIL then it was possible that the PYD would have kept going west along the Turkish border to meet with the town of Afrin, (also under PYD control), ignoring Turkish warnings that they should stay east of the Euphrates and not form a "Kurdish corridor" along the entire border. The Turks did not want to hear a 'Sorry, the PYD did not listen to us' excuse from the Americans after Jarablus was taken.
So Turkey informed the U.S., the Russians, the Iranians, the Iraqi Kurds and other related parties that they were moving in. It also stressed its intention was not to stay in Syria, but to help the FSA in the establishment of an 'ISIL-free' zone on the Turkish border from Jarablus to Azez. That area would be 98 kilometers longand 45 km wide, (45 km is the range of Turkish "F?rt?na-Storm" howitzers).
The idea of an ISIL-free zone, to provide an operation base for the Syrian rebels and to provide a safe zone for future migrants, was suggested by Turkish officials and agreed upon by the Americans exactly one year ago. But it was never implemented. The Russian arrival into the Syrian theater in September 2015 made it practically impossible, while the downing of a Russian plane by a Turkish jet (the pilot of which was arrested over his involvement in the failed July 15 coup attempt) put all Turkish operations on hold. But a letter of 'excuse' by Erdogan to Russian President Vladimir Putin started normalization in relations on June 27 this year, and the subsequent diplomacy made the August 24 operation possible for Turkey".
 "Syria will test Turkey's 'strategic partnership' with the US"In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.08.16), under the above title, columnist Semiz Idiz writes the following about Turkey's operation in Jarablus:
"Turkey's priorities in Syria have shifted from seeing the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to preventing Kurdish aspirations in that country, and fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m has made it clear that unsavory as the idea still is, Ankara acknowledges now that al-Assad will have to be part of any solution.
Reports of clashes in Al-Hasakah between the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the umbrella organization of the Syrian Kurds, and Syrian regime forces have also fed speculation that the day may not be far when Ankara and Damascus cooperate to keep the Kurds at bay.
As for ISIL, Ankara has clearly decided to take the fight to this group following its latest atrocity in southern Gaziantep. All the signs are that Turkey is taking this group much more seriously than it did initially, when its rather simplistic argument was "get rid of al-Assad and ISIL will disappear automatically."
It is a matter of speculation as to whether Ankara sees the PYD or ISIL as the greater threat today. It all depends on where you look from. The fact is that ISIL has drawn Turkey into Syria, where the Turkish military is actively engaging this group in the city of Jarablus just across the Turkish border.
Turkey is reportedly coordinating this operation with the U.S. It all looks smooth on the surface but there are problems involved in this new step by Ankara which could result in new tensions with Washington.
The U.S. is no doubt aware that Turkey's operation in Jarablus has a dual purpose: It puts Turkey firmly in the anti-ISIL camp. It also signals to Washington, however, that Turkey is not going to allow the Kurds to take over this city, the way they are doing in Manbij with the U.S. support.
Turkey is also underscoring its determination to prevent the Kurds from establishing a contiguous "Kurdish corridor" along its borders. Put another way, Turkey and the U.S. may appear to be allies against ISIL, but they are rivals when it comes to the Syrian Kurds.
There is a serious crisis of confidence between them in this regard. Washington may be worried about Turkey's motives in Jarablus, but Ankara is convinced the U.S. is helping the Kurds carve out a U.S.-friendly region for themselves in Syria.
As matters stand, every country involved in Syria has its own agenda. Turkey clearly decided it could not stand aside anymore without pushing its agenda, especially after the reconciliation with Russia strengthened its hand.
Having made up with Ankara and seeing al-Assad beginning to confront the Kurds, it is clear that Kurdish aspirations are not a priority for Moscow. Iran is also close to Turkey with regard to the Syrian Kurds, which is another factor strengthening Ankara's hand against Washington.
The situation that is developing shows that Washington will have to consider its next steps very carefully in order not to push Turkey into the welcoming arms of the Russian-Iranian camp in the Syrian crisis. Now that Ankara has overcome its al-Assad phobia, this can happen much more easily. In short, Washington must beware of simplistic formulas and assumptions ? of the kind we saw in the past in Iraq - that will not hold.
Like Russia and Iran, Turkey wants Syria's territorial integrity to be preserved and says it will accept a settlement plan which proposes the establishment of a government which is above ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliations. In other words, it will have to be a non-partisan, secular government.
This puts Ankara finally on the right side of the Syrian equation, despite its past mistakes and miscalculations regarding this crisis. Many western analysts still harp on about Turkish assistance to radical Islamists in Syria. The matter has gotten much more complicated than that though.
This article was written as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was just setting foot in Turkey for one of the most crucial rounds of talks with Washington's "strategic partner." Developments in Syria will test the limits of this "strategic partnership." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION