Erdoğan: “Trilateral mechanism should be established with Russia and Syria”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he proposed to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin establishing a trilateral mechanism with Russia and Syria and to hold a leaders meeting, primarily for discussions on the security issues.

“As of now, we want to take a step as Syria-Türkiye-Russia trio,” Erdoğan told journalists on his flight from Turkmenistan to Turkey on Dec. 14.

“First our intelligence agencies, then defense ministers, and then foreign ministers could meet. After their meetings, we as the leaders, may come together. I also offered this to Mr. Putin. He also viewed it positively. Thus, we will start a series of negotiations,” he added.

Erdoğan earlier said he had not ruled out a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, although the two countries have been regional foes since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Ankara supported the opposition groups in Syria after the Assad regime launched a brutal crackdown on the Syrians demanding democracy.

Erdoğan emphasized that the terror threat posed by the YPG from Syria is “another issue that needs to be taken quickly.”

“Terrorist organizations must not rest comfortably in Syria, especially in northern Syria. From time to time, they threaten and provoke our country from there, they do everything,” he said.

Erdoğan recalled the Sochi agreement with Russia stipulates the YPG’s withdrawal of 30 kilometers from the Turkish border into northern Syria.

“This is our security corridor when we are disturbed 30 kilometers south of our border. We take every step in this safety corridor,” Erdoğan stated.

Erdoğan also slammed EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s remarks criticizing Türkiye over its ties with Russia and urging Ankara to join EU’s sanctions against Moscow.

“I do not take Borrell as my interlocutor. He can only be Mr. [Foreign Minister] Mevlüt’s [Çavuşoğlu] interlocutor,” he said and noted that Borrell’s remarks were “not elegant at all.”

“In other words, Borrell cannot appoint or regulate our relations with Russia. He has neither the quality nor the capacity to make such a decision on these matters. It was an indecent statement,” he noted.

Asked about a coup attempt by right-wing extremists in Germany, the president said the measures taken by the German government against the putschists were “proper,” but criticized Berlin for its stance on the case of a coup attempts in Türkiye in 2016.

“It is my people, my country, who will best understand the feeling in Germany against the coup plans. Unfortunately, I cannot say that we see the same sympathy and understanding from our friend and ally Germany,” he said.