Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, engaged in discussions regarding the Syrian-Turkish relationship, emphasizing the importance of preserving Syria’s unity and territorial integrity.
During a joint press conference in Sochi on Monday, Putin underscored their collaboration within the Astana format for a political settlement in Syria. He stated, “Our fundamental approach to resolving the crisis revolves around safeguarding Syria’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, with the Syrian people determining their country’s future without external interference.”
Following their talks, Putin highlighted the shared core principles for resolving the Syrian crisis, including respect for Syria’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. He added, “We acknowledge that national reconciliation and consensus are essential prerequisites for launching extensive reconstruction efforts in Syria. We firmly believe that the Syrian people must determine their nation’s future without the imposition of external models.”
Putin’s remarks on Syrian-Turkish rapprochement coincide with Turkish officials’ statements confirming that the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria is currently not feasible. Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler previously stated, “Turkey genuinely seeks peace, but we have specific concerns, and it is inconceivable for us to withdraw from Syria without securing our borders and protecting our citizens. I believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will act pragmatically in this regard.”
On the other hand, the Syrian side maintains that progress toward reconciliation between Damascus and Ankara hinges on establishing a clear timetable for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria. President Assad expressed this stance during his recent meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, stating, “The Turkish withdrawal from Syrian territory is an absolute prerequisite for the normalization of relations between Damascus and Ankara.”
Mediators restore movement to the Syrian-Turkish rapprochement issue:
Since last June, there have been no significant developments in the Syrian-Turkish rapprochement. The 20th round of Astana talks, which involved Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia, took place on the 20th and 21st of the month. During this meeting, a road map for improving relations between the two parties was agreed upon, but progress has yet to be observed.
Five days prior to Erdogan’s visit to Russia, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, travelled to Russia and held discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
In a parallel diplomatic effort, Amir Abdollahian visited Damascus on August 30. During his visit, he met with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, as well as President Assad. During a press conference alongside Mekdad, Amir-Abdollahian stated, “The establishment of relations between Syria and Turkey based on good neighbourliness and respect for Syria’s sovereignty creates a positive climate in the region.” He also noted that the quadripartite meetings involving Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have generated constructive ideas regarding respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
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.