The Turkish presidency has linked the Syrian regime’s involvement in the war against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to progress in normalizing relations between Damascus and Ankara.
Fahrettin Altun, the director of communications in the Turkish presidency, dismissed the Syrian regime’s demand for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria at this stage as “meaningless.” He asserted that Turkey’s presence serves as a “guarantee” for the integrity of Syrian territory.
In an interview with the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, Altun emphasized the importance of achieving tangible results in the fight against terrorism to advance negotiations with the Bashar al-Assad regime. He urged the regime to abandon preconditions and focus on achieving positive outcomes in the normalization process.
Altun revealed that Turkey engaged in normalization talks with the Syrian regime through the Quartet without imposing any preconditions, acting in good faith. He called on the Syrian regime to follow Ankara’s example and give up preconditions, including the demand for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from northern Syria.
However, Altun acknowledged that both countries are in the early stages of determining the future of their bilateral relations.
Emphasizing the threat posed by the SDF to Turkish national security, Altun asserted that concrete progress in the fight against terrorism is necessary. He expressed Turkey’s expectation that the Syrian regime would act in accordance with the realities on the ground, as the terrorist organization directly threatens Syria’s territorial integrity.
Regarding the return of refugees, Altun stated that facilitating the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of Syrian refugees and reviving the political process, which has been obstructed by the regime, remain among Ankara’s top priorities in 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.