Turkey criticizes Syrian regime’s “wrong” negotiation tactics

Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, conducts a filmed interview where he discusses the negotiations with the Syrian regime and Ankara’s security concerns in Syria - February 4, 2024 (Sabah newspaper)

Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, conducts a filmed interview where he discusses the negotiations with the Syrian regime and Ankara’s security concerns in Syria - February 4, 2024 (Sabah newspaper)

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Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated that it was a “wrong method” for the Syrian regime to attempt a diplomatic move by setting preconditions on Turkey, clarifying that Ankara has conveyed this notion to Damascus.

In assessing the conversations that take place between Turkey and the Syrian regime from time to time through various channels, Fidan added that his country keeps the door open for dialogue, considering that Turkey has not made any attempt to violate the Astana process. The group that Turkey supports has not taken any step to disrupt the Astana process, he stated.

Fidan, during an interview with the Turkish newspaper “Sabah” on February 4, said that the Syrian regime is still unable to meet with Turkey for various reasons.

“When they meet, they cannot be themselves anyway. However, they do not have the opportunity to meet, there is always another country with them. This is not a problem for us, because we have full confidence in ourselves and we know what we want to do,” added Fidan.

The Turkish minister referred to the Russian President’s visit to Turkey, which will take place in February, pointing out that Turkey expects Russia not to ignore the organizations of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which are considered “terrorist” organizations by Ankara’s evaluations.

He also mentioned the existence of a de-escalation mechanism that may not always work as required and that Turkey’s top priority is to eliminate the PKK threat from east and west of the Euphrates and that Russia has other expectations, and the issue requires negotiation.

The normalization issue collapsed

The statements from the Turkish Foreign Minister come less than a week after comments by the Russian President’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, to the Russian agency “TASS,” announcing at that time that the matter of normalizing political relations between the Syrian regime and Turkey collapsed at the end of the year 2023.

He also explained that the process somewhat halted at the end of last autumn because the Syrian side felt it was necessary to obtain guarantees from the Turkish side that the military forces in Syria would withdraw “in the long term.”

According to what TASS reported about the Russian official, “no one says that these military forces will be withdrawn soon,” but this is unacceptable to Ankara for certain reasons.

 

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