In political circles, a surprise occurred in the form of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement yesterday regarding his proposal — made to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin — to establish a trilateral initiative with Syria intended to accelerate the diplomatic track between Ankara and Damascus. The surprise came due to the lack of any actual subsequent developments since talking about the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement file.
According to Reuters, the Turkish president set out his vision for this track, starting with a meeting of the countries’ intelligence services, then defence ministers, and then foreign ministers. Ultimately, the track would culminate in a meeting of the presidents of the two countries.
Russia met the Turkish offer receptively, as the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed optimism and welcomed Erdogan’s proposal.
On the Syrian position on the recent Turkish offer, Nidal Kabalan, the former Syrian ambassador to Turkey, said in an interview with the Al-Sharq TV channel: “The future between the two countries must be viewed from the standpoint of political foundations. This is because there is no permanent enmity or permanent friendship; instead, there is an intertwining of interests. Turkey paid the price, as did Syria, in this war. It is in everyone’s interest to turn over a new page in history. But it must happen on firm and solid foundations through trust, sincerity of intentions and dealing with difficult issues with determination.”
“Damascus does not judge words, but rather waits for actions by the Turkish president, including the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian territory, the cessation of support for terrorist groups, and the return of the Syrian state’s control over Idlib,” Kabalan explained.
On how Damascus and Ankara deal with the Kurdish file, Kabalan said: “The issue of the Kurds is the only point on which Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran agree to prevent the establishment of separatist entities along ethnic lines. Therefore it is the focus of consensus amongst these four countries.”
“Turkey should not limit its focus on terrorism to the Kurdish issue. There are dozens of terrorist organizations, whose militants hail from more than 84 countries, and they are still fighting on Syrian territory with the support of Turkey and other countries. In these circumstances, how can they be described as the Syrian opposition?”
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.