Meeting with Assad possible: Erdoğan

Meeting with Assad possible: Erdoğan

Meeting with Assad possible: Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not ruled out meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, although the two countries have been regional foes since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011.

“A meeting with Assad can take place. There is no resentment in politics. Sooner or later, we can take steps,” Erdoğan told reporters at the parliament on Nov. 23. He was responding to the questions about whether he would meet in person with Assad as he did with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Qatar over the weekend.

Erdoğan did not give details about when he will have his second meeting with el-Sisi.

Türkiye had strained ties with both Egypt and Syria since the early 2010s. It did support the opposition groups in Syria after the Assad regime launched a brutal crackdown on the Syrians demanding democracy. Erdoğan was also the loudest critic of el-Sisi rule in Egypt as he firmly denounced the military coup against the country’s first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi.

Erdoğan may shake hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for high-level diplomatic talks before the 2023 elections, also two journalists from the daily Hürriyet reported. 

A possible meeting with Assad has come to the fore following Erdoğan’s meeting with el-Sisi in Qatar, where he was for the world cup ceremonies.

Assessing the possibility of a handshake with Assad, whom Erdoğan has not met for years, Hande Fırat stated that comprehensive diplomatic talks should be held before a meeting with the Syrian leader.

Stating that the process starts with diplomatic negotiations between the intelligence organizations of the two countries, Fırat noted that the issues on the table in the intelligence negotiations should reach a certain resolution stage.

Foreign ministers should involve in the process as the intelligence sides make progress in their diplomatic conversations, according to Fırat.

With the success of the solution-oriented talks at the level of foreign ministers and the coming of the agreements to the agenda, the necessary atmosphere for the meeting of the leaders will also be provided, Fırat noted.

On the other hand, even if Erdoğan shakes hands with Assad, some officials think that countries such as the U.S., Iran, Israel, Russia and Jordan should also be involved in the process to ensure permanent peace and stability in Syria, Fırat pointed out.

Abdulkadir Selvi also underlined the importance of diplomatic talks, noting that Erdoğan and el-Sisi’s handshake was a result of the meetings at the level of intelligence organizations and foreign ministries.

Erdoğan’s meeting with Assad may take place before Türkiye’s 2023 elections, Selvi noted, defining this handshake as a “matter of timing.”

Reminding that Erdoğan’s meeting with el-Sisi was hosted by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Selvi pointed out that Erdoğan may shake hands with Assad at a meeting abroad.

Selvi pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to bring Erdoğan and Assad together at a meeting he will organize.

Erdogan, TURKEY, Diplomacy,