Adana Agreement Turkey Syria

The Adana Agreement (pronounced [aˈ da.na]; Turkish: Adana Mutabakatı; In Arabic: اتااقيةأضاةة) was an agreement between Turkey and Syria in 1998 on the exclusion of the Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) from Syria. [1] In the same way as Turkey on the relevance of the Adana agreement, Russia asserts that the agreement must guarantee the security of Turkey`s borders. Moscow, however, says it supports a dialogue between the Assad regime and the YPG. The provisions of the agreement give Turkey a legal path to act in Syria with Russia`s full agreement. Syria`s decision to expel Öcalan and negotiate with Turkey was linked to its concern about the strength of the Turkish army in the face of its own weakness. However, a few years later, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview that “Öcalan`s expulsion did not take place out of fear, but because we preferred you. We could either be friends with the Turkish people or prefer the Kurds and lose them. Because we preferred it with you, we sent Öcalan out. By signing the agreement, Syria recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization and promised not to support it financially, logistically or militarily. Until 2011, Turkey benefited greatly from the agreement in the fight against the PKK. However, when the civil war broke out in Syria, Assad was inclined to replay the PKK`s card against Turkey because his northern neighbor had taken a strict stance and criticized him. Article 1 of the Adana Agreement provides that “on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, Syria shall not authorize activities emanating from its territory and aimed at endangering the security and stability of Turkey”.

However, several reports during the war indicated that Syria had given the PKK carte blanche on its soil and that even the Syrian security services had assassinated moderate Kurdish politicians to leave the PKK the way to remain in the Kurdish regions again. Turkey is now facing a serious threat from Syria, due to the activities of the People`s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “We believe that he (Putin) referred to this protocol, which implies that Turkey can intervene in (Syria). And that`s positive for us. As part of the 1998 agreement, Damascus agreed that the PKK would not allow it to operate on its soil. However, the YPG is now entitled to an autonomous administration in northern Syria, based on the political ideals promoted by Öcalan. The new focus on the Adana agreement is reminiscent of some critical points. First, it means that Syria should be forced to extradite terrorists, in this case members of the YPG or the Democratic Union Party (PYD), either to extradite them to Turkey or to remove them from the country. But to wait for it from Damascus, Turkey must be in official communication with the Syrian regime. According to several analysts, the return to the agenda of the Adana agreement serves to pave the way for formal contacts between Ankara and Damascus and a new start for bilateral relations. However, given that Turkey is concerned about the possible power vacuum that will occur after the US withdrawal, it remains unlikely for the time being that meaningful contact between Turkey and Syria will emerge.

Moreover, it depends on the measures Turkey could take against Kurdish terrorists in Syria, the nature of Damascus` approach to the Kurds.