Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is watching from afar the steps towards normalization between his country and Türkiye. He is not involved in this process and is not taking any positive steps, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a press conference on the plane returning from a visit to Sochi.
''First of all, let me state that Assad is, unfortunately, watching the steps taken in the Türkiye-Russia-Iran-Syria format regarding normalization from afar. In other words, he does not take part in the work. We, on the other hand, opened our doors to these efforts, hoping that Syria would take part in this work, and said, ‘We are for it.’ However, there is still no positive attitude on the Syrian side. We hope that they will also take their place at the table in the continuation of the process," Erdogan said.
Erdogan also mentioned that high-level officials are holding talks on normalization between Syria and Türkiye.
"The fight against terrorism, the political process, and the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of refugees are being discussed comprehensively at the quartet foreign ministers' meeting. If progress is made in this way, normalization of relations with the Syrian regime is also possible,” the Turkish president added.
Referring to the solution to the refugee crisis, which is among the biggest problems of the world agenda, Erdogan emphasized that safe conditions should be created for refugees to return to their countries.
"It is very important that the Syrian regime acts in accordance with the realities on the ground and avoids approaches that could harm the process. As you know, our main expectation from this process is to take concrete steps in the fight against terrorism. In addition, creating the necessary conditions for voluntary and safe returns and revitalizing the political process under the auspices of the United Nations," the Turkish President said.
"Türkiye is in favor of the territorial integrity of its neighbors. Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, we have been saying that the biggest threat to the territorial integrity of this country is the terrorist organizations based in this country. Our fight against terrorist organizations threatening our country will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized," he emphasized.
President Erdogan also made statements about the developments in Iraq in recent days.
"The Turkish Foreign Ministry is closely following the developments in Kirkuk. As a result of the talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani, there is a calm atmosphere in the country at the moment. A meeting was held with the Barzani family and Sudani,” Erdogan stressed.
“For the peace and tranquility of the region, activities that will disrupt the structure of Kirkuk should be avoided. Any action that will disrupt the structure of Kirkuk means the disruption of the integrity of Iraq," the Turkish president highlighted.