1998 Turkey Syria Agreement

The Turkish-Syrian crisis marks an important step in the development of Turkey`s policy in the Middle East after the Cold War. The crisis culminated in an agreement signed by Turkey and Syria on 20 October 1998 in the Turkish city of Adana. The Syrian government has declared its readiness to cease all support for the PKK (Kurdistan Workers` Party), which has been used as a political map in relations with the Turkish state since the 1980s. The Duma unanimously (with abstention) asked President Yeltsin to grant political asylum to Ocalan after fleeing Syria. The possibility of Turkey imposing economic sanctions on Russia may have been a factor. However, the possibility of Turkey beginning to support Turkish Muslims in Russia and exert influence over the Turkish republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus was even more serious. Turkey believes that Russia will be inclined to use the PKK map to transport Caspic oil to world markets. Indeed, the letter to the Duma, stressing that the “fight for oil” was involved in the efforts of Turkey and its Western protectors to end the PKK, shortly after the declaration of the Ankara Protocol of 29 October 1998. It was an agreement by which Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Turkey announced their determination to carry out the Baku-Ceyhan gas pipeline project to bring Caspian oil to Europe via the Ceyhan terminal in southern Turkey. Russia saw the project as an economic and political threat to its status throughout the former communist bloc. In an obvious reference to this Russian perception, Ocalan said in the same letter: “I want to tie my destiny to my allies.” 99 Another element of Syrian policy was strategic cooperation with similarly motivated neighbours. In 1995, Syria agreed to allow the Greek Air Force to land on Syrian air bases.13 In the same year, Russia`s role in the image was clarified.14 Moscow authorized the third session of the “Kurdish Parliament in Exile”, which was held in a building adjacent to the Duma, with the participation of some Russian parliamentarians.

Russia has also entered into a “military and technical cooperation agreement” with Greece, attempting to engage Iran in a strategic partnership.