Qatar's ambassador to Turkey has described an agreement between Ankara, Moscow and Washington on the parameters of a proposed safe zone in northern Syria as a "diplomatic victory" for Turkey.

In an interview with the Qatari Al-Sharq newspaper, Salem bin Mubarak al-Shafi said Qatar has always backed Turkey's legitimate right to defend its national security.

He described a recent phone call made by Qatar's emir Tamim bin Hamad with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "clear support message that affirms Turkey's right to defend its border and the country's national security against terrorist attacks".

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Oct. 17, Ankara agreed with Washington to pause its operation to allow YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the planned safe zone.

And on Oct. 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK. 

Diplomatic victory

The Qatari envoy described the deal on the Turkish safe zone in Syria as a "diplomatic victory" for Turkey.

"Turkey did not bow to international pressure or foreign dictations," he said.

"If the U.S. had not implicitly recognized Turkey's right to defend its border against terrorism, it would not have sent a delegation headed by Vice-President [Mike Pence] to negotiate with Ankara," he said.

"Turkey's deal with Russia is not less important than the agreement with the U.S. as it is considered a political and military victory for Turkey," the diplomat said.

The Qatari diplomat said criticisms of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria were not objective.

"These criticisms were only directed against Turkey and its policies and reflected the double standards practiced by the critics," he said.

He said countries that criticized the Turkish operation "don't see any problem in all forms of foreign interference in Syria".

"Isn't it the right of Turkey to create a safe zone to protect its border and create a safe home for [Syrian] refugees," he asked. 

Partnerships

The Qatari diplomat said relations were progressing between Doha and Ankara.

"Bilateral relations have made a huge stride and we're progressing despite challenges facing both countries," he said.

He said that Qatari tourists in Turkey exceeded 130,000 last year.

"Investments are also improving," he said, citing that Turkey has attracted foreign direct investments worth $4.2 billion from January to August of this year, according to figures by the Central Bank of Turkey.

"We are sparing no effort to remove obstacles facing investors in both countries and are seeking to help them with a view to creating new opportunities and partnerships," he said.