Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan settled the controversy over the statements made by his country’s officials over the past days regarding the rapprochement with Damascus. He stressed that “we must take advanced steps with Syria to spoil the plans in the region.” This coincides with the visit of Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow next Tuesday.
In this regard, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar quoted Syrian sources as expecting that the progress of rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus will be one of the most prominent axes of the meeting to be held between Mekdad and Lavrov.
The sources recalled Syria’s declared position towards opening up to Turkey, characterized by Turkey stopping “supporting terrorism” and removing its forces from Syrian territory. They stressed that “these positions are firm and solid, and that Turkey is aware of them. Any development in relations between the two countries will not be hidden under the table, but in a public form that includes clear steps.”
Experts point out that the Turkish president failed to launch his operation, which he promoted over two months and is part of what he called the “safe zone” to keep the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) away from his country’s southern border –which America, Russia, and Iran rejected.
On Friday, Erdogan told reporters on the plane on which he returned from his visit to Ukraine: “We must take advanced steps with Syria through which we can spoil many schemes in this region of the Islamic world.” He stressed that “we have no ambitions in the territory of Syria, and the Syrian people are our brothers, and we attribute importance to their territorial integrity.”
“Political dialogue and diplomacy between countries should not be interrupted. At all times and any moment there should be such dialogues, it is mandatory to happen,” he said. He cited a proverb that says even a “thread” must be preserved in relations because one day it will be necessary.
Vice-President of the ruling party
Coinciding with high-level Turkish statements confirming Ankara’s desire to get closer to Damascus, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman, Numan Kurtulmus, said that the Turkish government’s efforts to get closer to the Syrian government are a positive step, albeit late. Turkey should agree with the Syrian government and send Syrian refugees to their country.
The deputy head of AKP called on external parties to find a quick solution instead of sending weapons to Syria, pointing out that his country supports the territorial integrity of Syria.
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.