Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM after talks with Russia
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARAU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu held a phone conversation on late Sept. 18, following the latter’s talks in Russia on the Syrian crisis. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also will pay visit to Moscow this week, as the international community accelerates efforts to find a settlement in Syria with Moscow’s cooperation.
During the phone conversation, which came upon the request of the U.S., the two ministers discussed the situation in Syria and the worsening migration crisis affecting Europe and Turkey, as well as the fight against terror, sources told Hürriyet Daily News.
The phone discussion came amid efforts carried out by the international community, including Turkey, to find a solution for the Syrian crisis, as the U.S. seeks cooperation with Russia to do more against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and find ways to move towards a political settlement in the war-torn country. The U.S. has urged Russia and Iran to use their influence to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to negotiate.
Sinirlioğlu visited Russia last week and held discussions on the Syrian crisis with his Russian counterpart.
Kerry reiterated al-Assad must go, saying the timing of his departure should be decided through negotiations.
“It doesn’t have to be on day one or month one. There is a process by which all the parties have to come together and reach an understanding of how this can best be achieved,” he said on Sept. 18, speaking after talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
Al-Assad’s removal has to be made in the context of the Geneva process and negotiation, Kerry said.
During a press conference on Sept. 18, Sinirlioğlu ruled out al-Assad’s role in Syria’s future or in any settlement process.
“[Al-Assad] is already buried in history as a leader who declared war on its own people. Al-Assad has no role to play whether in Syria’s future or in efforts to bring stability to Syria,” Sinirlioğlu stated.
Following his visit to Russia, Turkey’s top diplomat reiterated Ankara disagreed with Moscow over ways to handle the Syrian conflict, with a particular difference of view of the regime being run by the Syrian president.
“Our view is that al-Assad cannot play a role in Syria reaching stability again because he is the principal one who is responsible for this matter and is on top of those who are responsible for the division in Syria. But the Russians state that this should be decided by the Syrian people,” he said in an interview with the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Erdoğan to visit Russia
Meanwhile, Erdoğan will pay a one-day visit to Russia on Sept. 23 and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The main agenda of the talks is expected to be the Syrian crisis.
Erdoğan will also attend the reopening ceremony of a mosque in Moscow.