Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul that his military entered Syria to depose Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
“We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” Erdogan said.
“We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice,” he added.
Erdogan also said that his military “had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army.”
Turkish opposition parties say there is evidence that Erdogan collaborates with jihadi terror groups in Syria.
Political columnist Kadri Gursel of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper said that the jihadis are “equipped, armed and trained by Qatari and Saudi money organized by Turkey and also helped by the CIA. … They are jihadists, all of them are jihadists and jihadists do cannibalize each other.”
In 2013, the defense consultancy, IHS Jane’s, reported that half the so-called rebels in Syria are radical jihadists. Since that time, the number has grown, and many Free Syrian Army fighters have defected and joined al-Nusra, the Islamic State and other Salafist groups.
“The Islamist character of the opposition reflects the main constituency of the rebellion,” The New York Times reported in April 2013.
“The Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council, the vaunted bulwarks of the moderate opposition, only really exist in hotel lobbies and the minds of Western diplomats,” writes Ben Reynolds of CounterPunch. “On the ground, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front, and other rebel groups have joined together in fighting against the regime, the Kurds, and ISIS.”
Erdogan is working closely with jihadists to violate the national sovereignty of a neighboring nation and overthrow its elected government. His mention of the Free Syrian Army is intended for consumption by western audiences already steeped in propaganda demonizing al-Assad.
In the Middle East, it is widely known that Erdogan cooperated with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the CIA to attempt to overthrow al-Assad.