Türkiye pledged to respond to any “positive steps” taken by the Syrian regime in kind, but noted that it was too early to talk about a specific date for a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.
Ankara also announced the possibility of increasing joint Turkish-Russian patrols in northern Syria, in parallel with meetings of experts from both countries.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that it was too early to talk about the date of Erdogan and Assad’s meeting, adding: “We cannot now say that the meeting between (the Turkish and Syrian presidents) will take place in the next 3 or 6 months… There is no specific timetable for that.”
“There may be new meetings and negotiations in the coming months. There is still much to be done before talks reach the level of leaders… It depends on the course of this process,” he told a television interview on Tuesday.
Kalin stressed that Ankara would respond in kind to “positive steps that are taken with sincere intentions from the Syrian side,” pointing to the possibility of achieving “very important and good developments”.
In the same context, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that he does not expect a tripartite meeting to be held in the presence of Erdogan and Assad, in reference to the Turkish president’s proposal to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to hold a meeting that would also include the head of the Syrian regime.
The Turkish minister added that the matter depended on the meeting of the foreign ministers, based on which a decision might be reached to hold a summit.
On a different note, Kalin underlined the need to eliminate the presence of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the largest component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country.
He added that the meeting of defense ministers and heads of intelligence services in Moscow last week saw positive messages and indicators, pointing out that Türkiye’s main approach towards the Syrian file was based on maintaining the constitutional path and political negotiations in light of the relevant United Nations resolutions.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that his country could develop joint patrols with Russia in northern Syria, saying that this process would continue in the form of a meeting of experts, with the “hope that it would be maintained in a reasonable, logical and successful manner.”
Akar stressed that Türkiye respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all its neighbors, especially Syria and Iraq, and its only goal is to defend its security and the safety of its people and “eliminate terrorists.”