On 19 and 20 October, when Syria was indeed complaining about peace, senior Syrian and Turkish bureaucrats met in Adana, Turkey. Turkey insisted that the only issue on the agenda would be Syria`s support for terrorism, and the 20 October agreement reflected that position. With the exception of the mention of “reciprocity,” the agreement was a catalogue of Syrian commitments to end virtually all forms of aid to the PKK entrusted by Ankara to Damascus. OCTOBER 1998 CRISIS A CHANGE OF HEART OF TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS SYRIA? The Adana agreement also provided for Turkey and Syria to enter into a reciprocal agreement in which they abstained from any military activity that would jeopardize the security of the other. The main objective of the agreement was to restore bilateral relations between Syria and Turkey, although the Turkish delegation insisted that full normalization should not be achieved until Syria met the requirements, including the cessation of what Turkey considered to be an “incitement to other Arab League member nations against Turkey” , as well as cooperation in the arrest of Ocalan. These requirements were attached to the text of the agreement.  The Adana Agreement was the result of a mediation effort by Egypt and Iran and responded to Turkish demands that Syria stop its support for the PKK, turn the group into a “terrorist” organization and expel its leader Abdullah Ocalan from the country. These factors, as well as the confirmed departure of Ocalan, convinced many observers (few of whom seemed to remember the old agreement) that Syria had “capitulated” and had sincerely thought about the fulfilment of its commitments. This perception was reinforced by reports following the agreement that 300 to 400 PKK fighters were expelled from Syria to northern Iraq. Third, we can only infer what the Turks were asking for and estimate to what extent their requirements were fully met. The “protocol” refers to an “Annex 2” that would detail Turkish requests to Egyptian President Mubarak. However, Schedule 2 has not been released.
It seems that one of the requirements was that Syria extradite to Turkey. If the Turks had imagined the headaches caused by the final arrival of Ocalan in Italy, they would probably have pushed harder to extradite from Syria. As it was, Assad`s expulsion of Ocalan, a much less humiliation for Syria than extradition to Turkey, was considered sufficient to avoid Turkish military intervention. Turkey has probably also called for the pkk to be expelled from Lebanon`s Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley. It only obtained Syria`s permission to include Lebanon in the tripartite anti-PKK efforts until the Lebanese government approved it. Almost all of these statements and commitments — including branding the PKK as a “terrorist” and banning its activities — had been made on other occasions. Certainly, the main elements of the 1998 protocol are contained in the agreements signed in 1987, 1992 and 1993. At the time of the 1993 agreement, Turkey`s chief negotiator even claimed that Damascus had accepted Ocalan`s extradition if he was captured in Syria. The Syrian official who signed the 1998 protocols also signed the 1993 protocol. After each of the previous agreements, Syrian support for the PKK seemed to be eddling for some time, but it then returned to form. As odious as Syria appears in its apparent capitulation, a close look at the agreement and recent history raises questions about how definitive the Syrian surrender is.