Creating new perspectives since 2009

Leaders of Turkiye, Syria could meet for peace – Erdogan

January 5, 2023 at 4:03 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye [Mustafa Kamacı/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, said on Thursday he may meet Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad as part of a new peace process, after their defence ministers met last week for the highest-level talks between the two foes since the Syrian war began in 2011, Reuters reports.

In a speech in Ankara, Erdogan said the next step, following the landmark talks between defence ministers in Moscow, would be a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers from Turkiye, Russia and Syria, to further develop contacts.

“We have launched a process as Russia-Turkiye-Syria,” Erdogan said. “We will bring our foreign ministers together and then, depending on developments, we will come together as leaders.”

READ: Turkiye, Russia, Syria DMs meet in first talks since 2011

Turkiye has been the primary backer of Syria’s opposition for more than a decade of war, while Russia has backed the Syrian government.

The conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions and drawn in regional and world powers, has ground on into a second decade, although fighting is at a lower intensity than in earlier years.

With backing from Russia and Iran, Assad’s government has recovered most Syrian territory. Turkish-backed opposition fighters still control a pocket in the north-west, and Kurdish fighters backed by the United States also control territory near the Turkish border.

A Turkish official said the Turkish and Syrian defence ministers met in Moscow on 28 December, with the topics of migration and Kurdish militants on the agenda.

Turkish-Syrian rapprochement seemed unthinkable earlier in the conflict and Syria’s opposition has urged Turkiye to reaffirm its support.  Ankara has sought to reassure the opposition, with Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, saying Turkiye would not take any step that would cause problems for them.

READ: US says it is against upgrading relations with Damascus after Turkiye-Russia-Syria talks