Turkey believes that full normalization based on good neighborly relations can be achieved in the region as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he did not rule out a meeting with Syrian leader Bashar Assad after an in-person encounter with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit.
Erdoğan attended the EPC’s first summit in Prague on Oct. 6 from where he conveyed messages to the regional leaders, including Armenia and Syria with which Türkiye’s ties were once very strained.
Erdoğan held a bilateral meeting with Pashinyan after a brief trilateral dialogue that also included Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Erdoğan issued important messages at a press conference after the summit on late Oct. 6, particularly on Syria.
“Meeting with Assad is out of the question for now. But when the time comes, we can also meet with the president of Syria… Currently, low-level meetings are being held,” Erdoğan replied to a question on whether he would meet the Syrian leader for peace.
Türkiye has been taking steps to accelerate the return of Syrian refugees as the Turkish government constructs briquette houses in the north of the neighboring country, he, said noting that some 500,000 Syrians have returned to their homeland.
On the other hand, Ankara wants to get rid of the terrorist groups in Syria, he added. Erdoğan emphasized that the war between Russia and Ukraine had impacts on Syria as well.
“Of course, the Russia-Ukraine War delayed the steps to be taken in the region. Because Russia also has an active role in these events in Syria, Iran has an active role, and on the other hand, coalition forces have an active role,” he said.
Erdoğan reiterated Türkiye’s criticism of the United States for its support to the YPG in Syria.
Asked about his earlier warning towards Athens in which he said that “we can come suddenly one night,” meaning that Türkiye could attack Greece, Erdoğan said, “This is not only valid for Greece. This is our answer to any country that disturbs us or attacks us: We can come suddenly one night. This is how they should know it; this is how they should understand it.”