Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman Hayati Yazici said that indirect relations with the Syrian regime “may become direct, in conjunction with increasing the favourable atmosphere in the future.”
“There are many aspects to solving problems, but dialogue remains the most important aspect of solving problems in international relations,” Yazici told Khabar Global. He noted that dialogue with the Syrian regime has taken on an indirect character during the past period but “at a very specific level.”
He added that this level “has risen a bit today, and the atmosphere that will result from its rise in the future will contribute more to getting out of this quagmire that has existed in Syria for 11 years.”
Regarding the possibility of a direct meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian regime President Bashar al-Assad, Yazici said, “I can’t say for sure whether it happens or not.” He added, “It starts somewhere, and the level can go up as I hope.”
No Turkish Military Operation
In other news, anticipation prevailed in the Turkish states near the Syrian border. The tension follows announcements broadcast by the minarets of the town of Karkamis in southern Turkey, which asked residents to stay at home because the Turkish army would carry out a military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
But Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu denied that these announcements were accurate. “The announcement that was broadcast in the mosques of Karkamis about the launch of a military operation by Turkish forces in Syria exceeded the desired purpose,” he said. Soylu called on the Turkish residents not to feel afraid and panicked by the warnings, explaining that the authorities have not imposed a curfew.
In the same context, the governor of the Turkish governorate of Gaziantep, Davut Gül, said that current events have not departed from the “routine situation.” He indicated that investigations have commenced against the officials responsible for the announcement because they went beyond the intended purpose.
Meanwhile, three Turkish military columns entered from the Jarablus border crossing with Syria and headed to Turkish bases in the areas of Maraa and Azaz north of Aleppo. The columns included military equipment, heavy machinery, and personnel carriers.
The Syrian official news agency SANA reported that three soldiers were killed, while six others were wounded in the Turkish occupier’s aggression against some positions in the Aleppo countryside.
On Tuesday, a military source announced that between 2:37 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., Turkish warplanes had targeted some military positions in the Aleppo countryside, resulting in the deaths of three soldiers and the wounding of six others.
The source added in a statement that the aggression comes in the context of the Turkish regime’s continued support for armed terrorist groups in the area.
“The Syrian armed forces responded to that aggression and targeted the relevant sites. They destroyed some of the positions and inflicted both human and material losses to the aggressors,” the source said.
“With the escalation of the Turkish regime’s provocations, as well as the recurrent attacks on different regions within Syrian territory, we stress that any attack on a military point belonging to our armed forces will be met with a swift response on all fronts,” the source added.
What does the Turkish press say?
On Wednesday, many Turkish newspapers discussed the issue of restoring relations between the two sides. Amongst these was the newspaper Hurriyet, which published an analytical article by the journalist Sedat Ergin, who is close to the government. The article was titled: “A critical threshold in normalization with the Assad regime has been crossed.”
“It is realistic to expect radical changes in relations between Ankara and Damascus soon. The next path of dialogue between the Assad regime and Turkey will go through a very painful and difficult process in light of the difficult legacy left behind by events over the past 11 years and the actual situation on the ground today,” Ergin said in his article.
He concluded the article by stressing the difficulty of “denying the emergence of a new situation in relationships – time will tell us how this new situation will develop.”
In the Sabah newspaper entitled “The New Period for Syria,” writer Mehmet Berlas tried to justify the statements of the Turkish Foreign Minister regarding rapprochement with the regime. He noted that the development could “liquidate the members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party” while also “making Aleppo livable through cooperation with the legitimate regime in Syria.”
Berlas argued that, by restoring relations, “most of the Syrian refugees in Turkey can return to Syria.” He accused the United States of playing a negative role in what happened in Syria, saying: “We know that one of the victimized countries in the Middle East, which America has upended, is Syria – and the other is Iraq.”
“It is time to lead Syria away from the wrong path, which was paved by Hillary Clinton and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.”
Opportunity to “open the door”
The newspaper Khabar Türk, in an article titled “It is a matter of negotiations and the return of refugees,” perceived that there is “an opportunity to open the door, even if there are no tangible results in the short term.”
The author of the article, Korshad Zorlu, justified his support for the restoration of bilateral relations, with the possibility of “drawing up a clear and concrete road map for the return of asylum seekers, which is certainly the most important issue for our nation.” Zorlu called for “the return (of refugees) to be the main goal and guiding state policy.”
In the same context, Zorlu noted the presence of a “very limited number” of Syrians wishing to “return voluntarily,” which requires that the state “take decisive steps.”