Turkey and Qatar invite opposition to Istanbul

Turkey and Qatar invite opposition to Istanbul

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
A number of different Syrian opposition groups are coming together for a meeting in Istanbul, held at the invitation of the Turkish and Qatari Foreign Ministries. The meeting aims to unite the Syrian opposition under one roof.

“We are trying to develop a common vision here. At the end of this meeting we will publish a common statement regarding the future of Syria in the post-al-Assad era. We all agree that Syria in the future should be a democratic, civil country based on a new constitution,” the leader of the National Change Current, Dr. Ammar Qurabi, told the Hürriyet Daily News March 26.

More than 15 Syrian opposition groups will attend the meeting, including the largest opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), the National Change Current, the Liberation and Construction Block, the Democratic Turkmen Movement, Kurdish groups and groups representing other minorities. Qurabi, one of the Syrian dissidents who put together a new opposition group rather than join the SNC, said the goal for the meeting was not to unite the groups under one roof.

“Our aim is not to unite the opposition, but to unite our vision. This meeting is being held to create a common vision for all of the opposition groups. We won’t be a part of the SNC,” Qurabi said. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said the different groups had been invited by the Turkish and Qatari Foreign Ministries, because Qatar is the current chair of the Arab League and Turkey is facilitating the gathering in Istanbul. “But the content of the meeting is not related to us,” the official said.

The same official also said that two main points were expected to affect the Syrian opposition’s deliberations, both in their own meeting and at the “Friends of Syria” meeting that is set to be held April 1 in Istanbul. Links between the Syrian opposition groups, especially their support of the Free Syrian Army, as well as the attendance of Syrian Kurdish groups at the opposition meeting, are expected to be emphasized, the official said.