Turkey blames Syrian government for lack of progress in peace talks

"This process is not progressing at the moment due to the fact that regime is dragging its feet."
Turkey's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ambassador Tanju Bilgic (Photo: Anadolu Agency).
Turkey's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ambassador Tanju Bilgic (Photo: Anadolu Agency).

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ambassador Tanju Bilgic on Friday blamed Damascus for the lack of progress in the political process and said Turkish solidarity for Syrians continue, after anti-Turkish protests erupted on Thursday in northwest Syria.

The Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday for the first time confirmed that he briefly spoke with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in October, the Daily Sabah reported.

Moreover, the Turkish FM called for reconciliation between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition.

In response, there were protests in several cities in northwest Syria by supporters of the Syrian opposition. During the protests, Turkish flags and symbols were burned.

Syrian opposition supporters in cities under Turkish control fear they could become victim of a deal between Damascus and Ankara.

Some of the protesters called for a reconciliation with the Syrian Democratic Forces instead of Damascus.  

The Turkish reconciliation call comes after Turkey was not able to get a permission to launch a military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria due to Russian, Iranian and US opposition.

Read More: Turkish-controlled areas in Syria protest against reconciliation with Damascus

Bilgic said that Turkey “played a prominent role in maintaining the ceasefire on the ground and establishing the Constitutional Committee (CC) through Astana and Geneva processes, fully supported the Opposition and the Negotiation Commission in the political process.”

“This process is not progressing at the moment due to the fact that regime is dragging its feet. The points raised by our Minister yesterday highlight this reality too,” he added.

Moreover, he said Turkey has provided “temporary protection to millions of Syrians, continues its active contribution to the efforts towards preparing suitable conditions for the voluntary and safe return of refugees, and finding a solution to the conflict in accordance with the roadmap set forth in UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”

He underlined that Turkey will continue to work for finding a lasting solution “in line with the expectations of the Syrian people.”

He underlined that Turkey’s “solidarity with the Syrian people will continue.”

Nicholas Heras, deputy director of the Human Security Unit at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, earlier told Kurdistan 24 on Friday that the "Turkish-backed Syrian opposition zones are especially vulnerable if Ankara cuts a deal with Damascus."

"The Syrian refugees have become a domestic political issue inside Turkey, and there's a sense among Turkish policymakers that an indefinite Turkish-backed zone inside Syria is a recipe for disaster."

The refugee policy of Turkish president Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was seen as one of the reasons his party lost the major cities of Istanbul and Ankara in the March 2019 local elections to the Republican People's Party (CHP) opposition. 

Read More: Syrian Kurdish opposition group opposes Erdogan's plan to return 1 million Syrian refugees

As a result, senior Turkish officials said they are working on voluntary return of Syrian refugees to Syria ahead of the country's June 2023 general elections.