Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tanju Bilgic, denied allegations made by the general secretary of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Gursel Tekin, that Turkey will enter Syria before the upcoming June elections.
Tekin said, “Turkey will dispatch soldiers to Syria either tomorrow evening or the following day,” on May 7 in his interview with Taraf, a Turkish newspaper. He claimed he has sources who already predicted the development of the Suleyman Shah operation in advance.
Suleyman Shah operation evacuated the tomb's 40 guards and relocate Suleyman Shah’s remains by a Turkish military convoy including tanks and other armored vehicles numbering about 100 in February 2015.
Tekin also asked for a statement about his claims from either Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu or Prime Minister Davutoglu.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bilgic rejected Tekin’s statements and said “If I am not wrong, the claims were published on Wednesday. Two days have already passed, and Turkish army did not enter Syria.”
“There is no point in commenting more on it. It is obvious the claims are not true,” he added.
Taner Yildiz, the Energy Minister of Turkey, responded to Tekin’s claims by saying that he should reveal his sources or reconsider what he said.
Sedat Laciner, an academic, also commented on the allegations and said that there have been military activities close to border areas of Turkey. He said, “We are receiving news from the region that some military vehicles were transported there. But activities are not in a level where you can talk about a war.”
Laciner believes the military activities are not connected to an intervention in Syria, but they are related to certain preparations against the outlawed PKK before the upcoming elections.
Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, a candidate for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was a founding member and former deputy of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), also said he had talked about the rumors and said that “The AK Party may a war on Syria to delay the elections.”
“Mine was a guess, but Gürsel Tekin’s rhetoric indicates he has information about it. I was not surprised, they [the AK Party] could do it,” he added.
Turkey has supported Syrian opposition groups fighting against the Assad regime since the uprising began in 2011, following the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East.
Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has already declared Turkey will help Syrian opposition forces with a “train-equip” program alongside the anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States rather than by directly sending soldiers to Syria.
Hurriyet Daily News reported, General Philippe Breedlove, the Commander of US European Command and the 17th Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR) at NATO’s Allied Command Operations, will visit Kirsehir, a central Anatolian city on May 12.
Meanwhile, Turkey and the U.S. will start a “train-equip” program for the moderate Syrian opposition on May 9, according to Cavusoglu, and Breedlove will visit Kirsehir to launch the program.