Salih Muslim: The Adana Agreement must be annulled

The Adana Agreement of 1998, which allows Turkey to penetrate Syrian territory to “fight terrorism”, must be annulled, demands the north Syrian politician Salih Muslim.

Salih Muslim, member of the co-executive committee of the North Syrian Democratic Unity Party (PYD), spoke to ANF about the 23-year history of the agreement. Muslim emphasizes that the historical context, in particular the conditions and the economic cycle in which the agreement was concluded, is important to consider. The agreement was not presented to the Council of Ministers or Parliament, but signed by Adnan Badr Hassan, head of the Syrian secret service, and representatives of the Turkish MIT. Muslim therefore underlines the fact that it is actually not a question of an “agreement”, but rather a series of declarations of intent.

"Adana Agreement has neither national nor international law validity"

Muslim describes the pressure with which Syria was forced to sign: “It was like holding a gun to someone's head and telling them you have to sign this now. This document was signed under such conditions. It has neither national nor international law validity. It was not an agreement that Syria signed of its own will, taking into account the opinion of the people and the government. The agreement has never reached the level of a valid, internationally recognized agreement.

"Turkey's approach goes far beyond the Adana Agreement"

According to this document, Turkish troops could enter Syrian territory (5–10 kilometres) with advance notice for the purpose of persecution, but would then have to withdraw. Muslim continues: “These conditions apply to both parties. Syria should do what Turkey is allowed to do. In reality, that never happened. There are now hundreds of kilometres that are occupied by Turkey. And Turkey is actively changing the demographics of the region. That goes far beyond the Adana Agreement. How Turkey trains its mercenaries, armed them and let them loose into Syria, even penetrating the region with tanks, has absolutely nothing to do with the agreement. But of course Syria is in a position of weakness today, so Syria cannot stand up and say: 'End the agreement. We no longer accept that.’ Maybe of course it is also due to the relationship with the Kurdish population. The regime has always oppressed the Kurdish people and never accepted a dialogue. They want to prevent the Kurdish people in Syria from gaining democratic rights. They don't want to give up the Adana Agreement as a club against the Kurds. Otherwise the Adana Agreement has no basis. "

"A great betrayal"

Muslim calls for the annulment of the agreement as a first step towards peace in Syria and says: “The agreement gave Turkey an excuse to invade Syria. This is a great betrayal for Syria. I assume that if the will of the Syrian people soon comes to light, agreements like the Adana Agreement will have to be annulled."