Ankara in talks with Syria’s ex-premier

Ankara in talks with Syria’s ex-premier

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ankara in talks with Syria’s ex-premier

Former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab meet with Davutoğlu in his second visit to Turkey. AA photo

Turkey hosted former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab yesterday amid a four-day meeting of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) in Doha.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met with Hijab in his second visit to Turkey since September, following his participation at the gathering of leading Syrian opposition figures in Amman last week.

Leading Syrian dissidents gathered in Amman and created a proposal establishing a “new political organ of the opposition, representing all of its components.” The new body would include the 14 SNC executive members, three members from the Kurdish National Council, religious leaders, and on-the-ground opposition including fighters and longstanding dissidents, according to a statement by Hijab’s spokesperson, Mohammed al-Otri.

Up to Syrians to decide

“It remains to be decided whether this body will replace the SNC or will constitute a new coalition,” Otri said, adding that setting up the body “will certainly lead to the formation of a government” in exile. When asked about Turkey’s approach to the proposal, as Davutoğlu said, “It’s up to Syrians to decide their destiny” and declined to comment further.

Since U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that the opposition needed to be expanded from just the SNC, Ankara has reiterated the same stance.

Davutoğlu also held talks with SNC chairman Abdel Basset Sayda on Nov. 2. He may attend the Doha meeting on Nov. 8 if Syrian opposition can reach a concrete outcome.