Syrian and Turkish leaders may meet in future: Erdogan

"Depending on developments, we may come together as the Russian, Turkish, and Syrian leaders.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Adem Altan/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Adem Altan/AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Russian, Turkish, and Syrian leaders may meet in the future, the Turkish state news agency TRT World reported on Thursday.

He said, after the foreign ministers meeting that is planned to take place in mid-January, the leaders of Russia, Turkey, and Syria may meet.

"Depending on developments, we may come together as the Russian, Turkish, and Syrian leaders. So, our aim is to establish peace and stability in the region," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Earlier on December 28, the Turkish, Russian, and Syrian defense ministers met in Moscow.

TRT also reported that President Erdogan in a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, called for ‘concrete steps’ to clear northern Syria from the Syrian Democratic Forces and People’s Protection Units (YPG), “especially from Tel Rifaat, Manbij in northern Syria, near the Turkish border."

President Erdogan in the past has threatened to launch a military ground operation in Manbij and Tal Rifaat.

In the meantime, Turkey continues to launch drone and artillery strikes in northern Syria.

The refugee policy of Erdogan's ruling party was seen as one of the reasons it lost votes in Istanbul and Ankara in the March 2019 local elections. In fact, it appears the main reason for Turkey’s overtures to the Assad government is to address the safe return of refugees to Syria. 

Moreover, Turkey wants to eliminate the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria.

Read More: Turkey tries to reassure Syrian opposition after overtures to Damascus

The recent developments between Syria and Turkey has worried the Syrian Kurds and the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition, who both stand to lose if Ankara makes a deal with Damascus. 

The US also opposes Turkish reconciliation with Damascus.

Background: In 1998, the Kurds became victims of the Adana Agreement, which allowed Turkey the right  to enter five kilometers into Syrian territory if Turkish security forces were threatened.

The Adana agreement came after years of Damascus’ hosting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Ocalan was expelled from Syria on Oct. 9, 1998, before his capture one year later in Kenya. Until now Ocalan remains imprisoned in Turkey.