Aydınlık has learned about a possible meeting between Erdogan and Assad before Turkey’s presidential election
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may meet with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad before Turkey’s presidential election, the Aydınlık newspaper said without citing the source of the information. They are scheduled for June 18.
According to Aydınlık, the meeting of the heads of states should be the third stage of normalization of relations. She called the first the talks of the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Turkey in Moscow, which were held on December 28. Three days later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced during a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that a meeting of the foreign ministers of the three countries could take place in the second half of January. The newspaper regarded it as the second stage.
Erdogan proposed trilateral talks with Assad with Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-December. The Russian counterpart, according to Erdogan, welcomed the initiative.
However, before the talks between the Turkish and Syrian presidents, there should be meetings of representatives of the special services, defense ministers and foreign ministers of the three states, Erdogan said.
On November 20, Erdogan ordered the launch of the “Sword Claw” operation in northern Syria and Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist group. The Turkish side described the operation as aimed at preventing terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens and ensuring border security. Turkey’s military carried out air strikes in areas controlled by the Kurds. Erdogan later admitted that Turkey’s operation would not be limited to air strikes.
In late December, the AlWatan newspaper reported that Turkey had agreed to withdraw troops from northern Syria after a trilateral meeting of defense ministers in Moscow. At the same time, Erdogan said that Turkey would take new steps in 2023 to “close the gaps” on its border with Syria. Ankara will move to a “new phase of the fight to destroy all the resources and infrastructure that the terrorist organization receives in addition to weapons,” he noted.