Why Putin referenced the Adana agreement signed by Turkey, Syria - analyst

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the Adana agreement signed between Ankara and Damascus in 1998 during his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Moscow this week to encourage both sides to cooperate together for the future of Syria, wrote Burhanettin Duran in his article for pro-government Daily Sabah.

The two leaders on Wednesday discussed how they planned to stabilize the situation in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib following the U.S. withdrawal from the region announced on Dec. 19.

‘’Multiple plans for a safe zone in northeastern Syria are competing against each other, and the issue will be discussed in greater detail in the foreseeable future,’’ Duran wrote, stressing that  Ankara is negotiating simultaneously with Washington and Moscow.

Pointing out that what the U.S. has set out to do is no easy task - to both protect the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants and address Turkish security concerns Ankara  - Duran noted that Ankara seems open to working on a terror free zone with the United States, Russia and France.

While highlighting that the Russians introduced their own plan during Erdoğan's visit on Wednesday, Duran underlined that Putin pointed to the Adana agreement of 1998 serving as the basis of Turkish efforts to secure its borders and combat terrorism. 

In the Adana agreement, the Syrian government pledged to prohibit on Syrian soil the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984.

The Russian president’s goal is to encourage Turkey to work with the Syrian regime, Duran wrote, adding that ‘’after the U.S. withdrawal, he wants Bashar Assad to seize control of all YPG-controlled territories.’’

Putin also referenced the Adana agreement in order to ensure that the safe zone concentrates on border security, Duran said , while sending a message to YPG militants, encouraging them to maintain dialogue with the Assad regime.

Posing the question, ‘’Could the Assad regime outlaw the YPG and turn over the militants to Turkey?’’ Duran noted Russia must understand that recruiting YPG militants into regime forces won't do away with Ankara’s security concerns; nor would it allow the Russians to replace the United States as the YPG's sponsor.