Speaking at an Ankara news conference on Monday after a Cabinet meeting the same day, Arınç commented on the Syrian crisis and the US’s decision to consult Congress about a possible intervention, an idea that gained strength after a chemical attack occurred in Syria in late August. Arınç stressed that the Syrian regime should be punished for the bloodshed it has caused, but that Turkey will not take part without a coalition.
“We expect a reaction against a regime that has been torturing its own people. However, [foreign] politicians especially seem as if they didn’t pay enough attention to these incidents [the killings in Syria]. Everybody says that it is none of their business, only taking their countries’ internal affairs into consideration. This is not something that Turkey wants to or is able to do alone,” he said, adding, “We expect foreign powers to take steps on this issue.”
Previously raised by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, Arınç also mentioned a “volunteers’ coalition” for a possible intervention in Syria, but thinks that it is not the strongest option on the table. Unlike the prime minister, Arınç believes the sole solution is held by the US, ignoring any decision that might be made by the UN Security Council (UNSC). Underlining that the UNSC cannot make effective decisions, Arınç said it is unlikely that a possible volunteers’ coalition or NATO are ready to apply military force against Syria.
The deputy prime minister said that if there were a volunteers’ coalition including Turkey, the country would perform its part of the operation. “However, the only solution that we have is the US’s decision to carry out this operation alone. If there is an intervention against the [Bashar al-] Assad regime and those who used chemical weapons, the US appears to be the only power to carry out punitive strikes,” he explained.
Arınç also commented on Obama’s decision to seek backing from Congress. Pointing out that there have been disagreements between the Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress, the deputy prime minister described Obama’s consultation despite the potentially negative outcome as a “brave act.”
Saying that Turkey expects a limited military action after Sept. 9, the day when the US Congress returns from summer recess, Arınç called for a broader military operation against the Syrian regime instead of “hit-and-run” strikes that will probably worsen the chaotic situation in the war-torn country rather than yield effective results.
Arınç said any military action must be strong enough to push the regime to the brink of collapse, pointing to the possibility that limited strikes will merely embolden Assad after the US action is complete.
He lamented the inaction of the international community, as the violence in Syria has claimed more than 100,000 lives, with 5 million residents internally displaced and 2 million refugees in neighboring countries.
Reassuring Turks about the Syrian civil war taking place on their country’s doorstep, Arınç said the Turkish government and armed forces have taken measures against every eventuality and that all preparations have been made for a possible attack.
The deputy prime minister also said that Prime Minister Erdoğan is planning to meet with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to St. Petersburg on Wednesday for the G-20 summit. Arınç stated that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has been working towards a possible meeting with Putin. However, several Turkish dailies reported that the meeting between Putin and Erdoğan will be a “brief talk.” Recording a statement from Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, the Turkish dailies said that Putin will meet with the Chinese president first, also having brief talks with the British, Turkish, Indian, Brazilian and Singaporean leaders.
Speaking about the Turkish Airlines (THY) pilots kidnapped by gunmen in Beirut in early August, Arınç said Ankara is not in favor of a rescue operation due to safety concerns for the pilots.
“We have obtained information on the whereabouts of the two kidnapped Turkish Airlines pilots, but we cannot rescue them due to safety considerations, and the pilots are in good condition. We hope we will be meeting with the pilots as soon as possible,” Arınç noted.