The Turkish presidency has stated that no specific date has been set for a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Additionally, there is no specific timing established for the return of Syrian refugees to their country.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin emphasized that there are currently no plans for a meeting between Erdogan and Assad in the near future. However, he acknowledged that the possibility of such a meeting has not been completely ruled out.
Kalin explained to the Turkish newspaper “Haberturk” that the meeting between Assad and Erdogan is contingent upon the actions taken by the Syrian regime, although he did not specify what those actions entail.
Following the foreign ministers’ meeting on May 10 involving Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the Syrian regime, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicated that the meeting between the two presidents would take place in 2023, stating, “The next stage is the meeting of presidents, and I anticipate that it won’t be long.”
Regarding the repatriation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Kalin emphasized that a specific date has not yet been determined for their return, stating, “There is currently no set date for this, but it is a probable occurrence. It depends on the progress of the process.”
He further added, “While we certainly desire the return of these individuals, we must consider their humanity. We will take rational and compassionate steps towards facilitating their repatriation.”
He clarified that the upcoming Moscow meeting will focus on three crucial issues: “countering terrorism, facilitating the return of refugees to their homes, and advancing negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition by propelling the constitutional committee forward.”
Prior to the Turkish elections, Turkey organized two quadripartite meetings aimed at normalizing relations with the Syrian regime. The first meeting took place in mid-April, involving defence ministers and heads of intelligence services, while the second meeting occurred on May 10th, with foreign ministers in attendance.
Kalin’s recent stance, following President Erdogan’s reelection, reflects Turkey’s heightened determination to engage in the normalization process with the regime. This marks a departure from the previous tone adopted prior to Erdogan’s victory, as Turkey seeks to fulfill its objectives concerning the return of Syrian refugees and the eradication of perceived “terrorist” threats along its southern border with Syria.
Cavusoglu affirmed that the Turkish government intends to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees not only to secure areas in northern Syria but also to regions under the control of the Syrian regime through diplomatic dialogue.
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.