After the earthquake that struck both Syria and Turkey on February 6, Russia has renewed the talk on Syrian-Turkish reconciliation. Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy of the Russian President to the Middle East and Africa announced that Moscow believes the presence of Turkish forces in Syria is only temporary and has expressed confidence in the potential for improved relations between the two nations.
Bogdanov’s statement on the temporary nature of the Turkish presence in Syria was accompanied by his acknowledgment of the Turkish government’s commitment to the sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. According to the Russian news agency Sputnik, Bogdanov added, “This position has been confirmed in several Russian-Turkish documents and joint statements in Astana.”
In addition, Bogdanov expressed his belief that the disagreements between Damascus and Ankara could be resolved through diplomatic efforts. Russia would continue to assist in finding acceptable solutions to normalize relations between the two countries and restore traditional Syrian-Turkish good neighbourly relations.
Bogdanov emphasized that the restoration of diplomatic relations between Damascus and Ankara and the resumption of the work of diplomatic missions in both countries should be the result of joint efforts in normalizing Syrian-Turkish relations. He also noted that this is one of the goals of the final negotiation process. He expressed his hope that such efforts would lead to the restoration of good neighbourly relations between Syria and Turkey.
Bogdanov emphasized that the normalization of relations between Damascus and Ankara is not linked to the electoral process in Turkey, as the long-term interest of both Syria and Turkey lies in establishing good neighbourly relations and cooperation and not in short-term gains.
“The support for normalizing the relations between Syria and Turkey was discussed at the trilateral Astana summit in Tehran in the summer of last year, and in December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed launching consultations at multiple levels between the representatives of Syria and Turkey, with the assistance of Russia, which could lead to a summit meeting. We strongly supported this initiative,” Bogdanov said.
Bogdanov stated that a mechanism of experts to coordinate joint work was established by Russia, Syria, and Turkey at the meeting of defence ministers in December last year. He added that there are ongoing studies about the possibility of organizing a quadripartite meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Turkey, and 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.