| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

Türkiye says Erdogan to meet Assad this year

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would likely meet this year following the quartet foreign ministers’ meeting on Wednesday.

Cavusoglu addressed the road map for normalizing relations between his country and Syria ahead of the meeting of the foreign ministers of Türkiye, Russia, Syria, and Iran in Moscow.

He said that the next stage would include a meeting of the two presidents.

A meeting of defense ministers and heads of intelligence services preceded the joint summit of foreign ministers.

Türkiye rejects preconditions for withdrawing its forces from northern Syria, noting that this step should be final after achieving stability in Syria.

Erdogan has previously confirmed his willingness to meet Assad, noting that he discussed the roadmap with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which requires a meeting between the two presidents.

Syrian and Turkish officials held meetings within the normalization path, sponsored by Russia and with the participation of Iran, apart from the summit of foreign ministers that will be held on Wednesday in Moscow.

However, Assad announced that he would not meet Erdogan before agreeing to withdraw Turkish forces from Syria.

Cavusoglu has warned, in previous statements, against dividing Syria and leading to another wave of migration due to the dire economic situation.

He expects the situation in Syria to become more complex and challenging, saying it was impossible to anticipate the results of the meetings.

The minister noted that the Syrian administration clarified whether it believes in a military or a political solution.

If the regime favors a political solution, it would be possible to find a solution, said the minister, warning that otherwise, the solution will take decades to be found.

In the same context, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that his country expects a clear position from Damascus on combating terrorism, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and its affiliated organizations.

Kalin noted that Syria must also be clear on the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their country and advancing the political process, which are the principles for normalizing relations with Syria.

He noted that the normalization path is relatively new, and an immediate result should not be expected.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat