By Elena Teslova
Turkey is a victim in the Syrian war that has suffered the most because of the events taking place there, head of Istanbul-based Istinye University’s Department of International Relations told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
Turkey has been there for the Syrian people since the start of the civil war in their country and continues to back Syrian territorial integrity, Prof. Dr. Mesut Hakki Casin said.
Casin, who was in Moscow as one of the participants at the Discussion Club Valday that concluded on Tuesday evening, said Turkey so far has hosted 3.5 million Syrians that ended up taking the pressure off prosperous European countries where most asylum seekers aim to seek refuge.
But despite everything Turkey continues to suffer from unjust accusations over Syria’s Afrin region, he said.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and that "utmost care" was being taken to not harm civilians.
The professor said: “Some say Turkey is attacking civilians in Afrin. I can’t agree with it, and I’m from military, I know what I am talking about.
“Turkey is targeting only terrorist organizations -- PKK and PYD. Turkey is very careful, every step in Afrin is calibrated, adjusted.
“And Turkey doesn’t aim to break down territorial integrity and independence of Syria. We don’t want problems with Syria, we respect Syrian integrity and we always protect Syrian independence and sovereignty.”
About the role of Russia in the Syrian conflict, Casin said he sees the country as a mediator in the conflict. He suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin should return to the Middle East "to challenge the balance of power in the international relations to multipolar the situation".
“Russian role is in combining all the parties.”
He added he expects Presidents Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani to bring peace and stability to Syria, and help reorganize the future of Syria, including its government and constitution.
“I hope we see them soon in an attempt to solve [the issues in Syria], number one is peace and number two, restructure of Syria,” he added.