Assad may take part in Syria transition, Erdoğan says
A picture released by Syria's official news agency SANA shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) greeting religious figures and well wishers after the morning prayer of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha at the Al-Adel mosque in Damascus on September 24, 2015, in a rare public appearance for the embattled regime head. AFP PHOTO / HO / SANATurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Bashar al-Assad could take part in the transition process to find a solution in Syria, although he should have no place in his country's future.
“Either a transition process without al-Assad, or with al-Assad, is possible. But what is the required is the opposition … Nobody can foresee Syria’s future with al-Assad. It’s not possible to accept a person responsible for killing 300,000 to 350,000 people, a dictator,” Erdoğan said after performing his Eid al-Adha prayer early on Sept. 24 in Istanbul.
Elaborating his discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 23, Erdoğan said he “could not see a clear [perspective] in Russia’s approach to Syria.”
But he also said that the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers would launch a new working group on the Syrian crisis, according to an agreement reached in talks with Putin.
“We have decided to work on this issue at the U.N. General Assembly as a group of three foreign ministers from the U.S., Turkey and Russia,” Erdoğan said, adding that Iran and Saudi Arabia could also be involved in the process. With the participation of the EU, Jordan and Qatar, efforts for Syria could be extended, the president also said.
Erdoğan added that he told Putin that al-Assad’s current aim is to declare a “boutique Syria” of 15 percent of the country from Damascus to Latakia, including Homs.
The Turkish president also reiterated Ankara’s wish to create a “safe haven” in Syria, which it hopes will be cleared of “terrorist organizations.”