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Will Adana accord take Erdogan to Damascus?

Drawing on a controversial 1998 accord between Ankara and Damascus, Russia wants to get Turkey on board with its game plans for Syria and beyond, including energy in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) following Russian-Turkish talks in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia October 22, 2019. Sergei Chirikov/Pool via REUTERS - RC16B3888800
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As Operation Peace Spring placed another territory in northern Syria under Turkish control, a crucial question under debate is whether Ankara could restore ties with Damascus on the basis of the 1998 Adana accord, referenced in the deal that Turkey agreed with Russia last week. 

The Adana accord, which lay ground for security cooperation between Turkey and Syria, was first brought up by Russian President Vladimir Putin when he hosted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow in January. Putin’s original aim was to stave off Turkey’s plans to create a buffer zone with the United States to the east of the Euphrates River. Ultimately, Putin’s proposal to employ the Adana accord was enshrined as a commitment in the memorandum of understanding that he and Erdogan hammered out Oct. 22 in Sochi. According to the fourth point of the memorandum, “Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.” A broad interpretation of the Adana accord was used also as a legitimizing basis for joint Russian-Turkish patrols in the west and east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). 

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