Recent statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Wednesday, about Ankara’s willingness to support Damascus if it decides to confront the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue to interest political circles, particularly the opposition. This statement raises questions about its causes and the possibility of changing the landscape of Syrian-Turkish relations, contrary to what they have reached in recent years.
“The Turkish leadership is trying to normalize its relations with official Damascus, despite years of political differences. These statements have disappointed the Syrian opposition,” Igor Sobotin wrote in the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. He added that “the Turkish foreign minister’s comments partly reflect the Turkish elite’s preparations for the 2023 general elections.”
Opposition circles received the Turkish Foreign Minister’s remarks with much apprehension. However, they justified Turkey’s position that it could be a media cover to bring about a rift between the Syrian government on the one hand and SDF on the other, in light of the dialogue or rapprochement between the two parties.
For his part, Dr. Bassam Abu Abdullah indicated in an article in Al-Watan newspaper that “the Turkish president’s first option is to move from the stage of prevarication and procrastination in the Syrian issue to the stage of gradual implementation in stages, and field coordination with the Russians, and the Syrian army to end the presence of “Terrorist groups” in Idleb, and the start of implementing the 2019 agreement. This is accompanied by cooperation to dismantle the U.S.-backed SDF canton project. This is possible if the intentions of the Turkish side are sincere.”
Cavusoglu’s statements come in three-time contexts specific to Syria. The first came a week after the tripartite summit in Tehran, which brought together the presidents of Turkey, Russia, and Iran, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, and Ibrahim Raisi, respectively.
The second context followed Tehran’s intention to mediate between Ankara and Damascus, to banish the spectre of a military operation that threatened to carry out its first operation in northern Syria.
While the third context relates to developments related to Turkey’s possible operation on the ground. Attention is directed to the Sochi summit, which will bring Erdogan and Putin together on August 5th, with a series of common issues, primarily the Syrian one.
In April, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that there had been discussions between Ankara and Damascus on three important topics. However, there was no official Turkish or Syrian comment.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.