Minister, Russian envoy in row

Minister, Russian envoy in row

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Minister, Russian envoy in row

Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu. Photo taken from Eroglu's personal website

Turkish and Russian authorities quarreled over the future of Syria during a meeting in Ankara on Aug. 30 when Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu received Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Vladimir Ivanovsky, in front of cameras.

Ivanovsky was cut off by Eroğlu when answering questions regarding future action in Syria, leading the diplomats to exchange barbs.

In response to a question posed by the Hürriyet Daily News concerning prospects for Syria’s future, Ivanovsky stated that Russia did not have a precondition about Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and added that Turkey and Russia were familiar with each other’s political positions on the matter.
Ivanovsky said each country’s priority was to solve the Syrian crisis and end bloodshed in the country.
“Russia’s position is the laying down of arms for sure and forming temporary committees to negotiate,” the Russian diplomat said.

His words were cut short by Eroğlu who stated that al-Assad should not be involved in such committees.

Ivanovsky continued after Eroğlu’s objection, outlining his support for the current Syrian leader’s participation in a future government. “He may join, too. He may run in the election, too. Why should he not? If you start the process from the bottom line, then everyone must be eligible to participate [in this process],” Ivanovsky said.

The al-Assad regime represents the Baath Party and the Baath Party has some supporters, Ivanovsky said. “You have to recognize their voting right, too,” the ambassador said and described Russia’s approach to the crisis as “wanting real democracy.”

Eroğlu again jumped into the conversation, saying, “Turkey wants real democracy, too.”

Ivanovsky then reiterated his remarks on democracy, while suggesting his words were being distorted. “We do not say al-Assad must stay; al-Assad must go. We say the entire process must be in accordance with international law,” the Russian diplomat said.