Turkey’s main opposition party says the Turkish government is set to send ground forces to Syria in the upcoming days to militarily intervene in its neighboring country.
According to Gürsel Tekin, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Turkish ground forces are scheduled to be dispatched to Syria within two days, Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper reported on Thursday.
He further elaborated that the forces will be sent to the north of Syria on Thursday or Friday night, adding that he has received the information on Turkey’s plan for intervention in Syria from a reliable source.
The official further noted that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s popularity is declining and it aims to stop the ascending trend of unpopularity through involving Turkey in an “adventure” in Syria.
He further warned against the repercussions of such an intervention, stressing that the ruling party aims to extend its rule in the country by dragging Turkey into a quagmire.
US-based news outlet Huffington Post reported in April that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are in high-level talks aimed at establishing a military alliance with the purpose of intervening in Syria and attempting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (R) meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 2, 2015 (©AFP)
As part of the plot, Turkey would provide ground troops backed by Saudi airstrikes in a bid to assist “moderate Syrian opposition” forces against government forces, the US-based news outlet reported, citing “sources familiar with the discussions.”
The talks were brokered by Qatar with the knowledge of Washington, the report noted.
On May 2, Turkish daily Yeni Şafak quoted the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as saying that Turkey will start a program on May 9 to train and equip what it calls moderate militants fighting against the Syrian government.
Çavuşoğlu added that a total of 2,000 militants will be trained by the end of the current year, claiming that the trained militants will fight both the government of Assad and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, who control parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Ankara and Washington signed a deal to train and arm the militants following months-long talks on February 19. The program is aimed at training over 15,000 militants in three years. Over 120 US soldiers are reportedly in Turkey to train the militants.
Turkey was one of the three countries that publicly expressed readiness to open its territory for the training of the militants.
“Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also announced that they will be hosting a train-and-equip program,” Çavuşoğlu said on February 20.
Turkey has time and again been accused of supporting the so-called Free Syrian Army and ISIL in Syria.
Ankara has also come under fire for not doing enough to halt the advance of ISIL as well as for its perceived reluctance to crack down on militants using its territory to travel into Syria, gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011.
The US and its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the Arab country.