The published agreement’s thirteen points do seem incredibly favorable to Turkey, which in Trump’s own characterization of events invaded Syria last week against U.S. wishes. The first point legitimizes Turkey’s invasion and reaffirms its status as an American ally: “The US and Turkey reaffirm their relationship as fellow members of NATO. The US understands Turkey’s legitimate security concerns on Turkey’s southern border.” Turkey has no legitimate security concerns on the border, while the people of northern Syria have many real and legitimate security concerns vis-à-vis Turkey.
The second point of the agreement promises Turkey- U.S. cooperation in Syria. “Turkey and the US agree that the conditions on the ground, in northeast Syria in particular, necessitate closer coordination on the basis of common interests,” The third reaffirms America’s promise to protect Turkey, stating “Turkey and the US remain committed to protecting NATO territories and NATO populations against all threats with the solid understanding of “one for all and all for one.”
The fourth and seventh points are ones Turkey violated all of last week and during its 2018 invasion of Afrin: “The two countries reiterate their pledge to uphold human life, human rights, and the protection of religious and ethnic communities” and “The Turkish side expressed its commitment to ensure safety and well-being of residents of all population centers in the safe zone controlled by the Turkish Forces (safe zone) and reiterated that maximum care will be exercised in order not to cause harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.”
While the fifth point commits Turkey and the U.S. to fighting ISIS, it neglects to mention that Turkey is deploying jihadi fighters in its invading proxy forces, including former ISIS fighters, and that these have been reportedly freeing formerly Kurdish-held ISIS prisoners. The sixth point serves to legitimize Turkey’s propaganda about the invasion being a counter-terrorism operation: “Turkey and the US agree that counter-terrorism operations must target only terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment.”
The eighth point calls for the territorial and “political” unity of Syria, effectively undermining any Kurdish claims to autonomy within the country. The ninth, tenth and eleventh points of the agreement call for the establishment of Turkey’s “safe zone,” the disarmament and withdrawal of all Kurdish forces from the area, and Turkey’s right to militarily enforcement of the zone. “The safe zone will be primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces and the two sides will increase their cooperation in all dimensions of its implementation,” it states. The twelfth point then promises Turkey that American sanctions will be paused and then lifted. Finally, the thirteenth point commits both parties “to work together to implement all the goals outlined in this statement.”