Turkey to take more active role on Syria in next six months: PM
Men ride on a pick-up truck past damaged buildings in the rebel-held Bab al-Hadid neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria August 18, 2016 - REUTERS photoTurkey will take a more active role in addressing the conflict in Syria in the next six months to prevent the war-torn country being divided along ethnic lines, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Aug. 20.
Yıldırım also told a group of reporters in Istanbul that while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could have a role in the interim leadership, he must play no part in its future.
"Turkey we will be more active in the Syria issue in the coming six months as a regional player. This means to not allow Syria to be divided on any ethnic base, for Turkey this is crucial," Yıldırım said, adding that Russia and the U.S. “sees that Assad can’t have a role in Syria’s future.”
“Whether we want it or not, Assad is an actor there. His counterparts are the opposition groups in Syria. It’s not possible for us to talk to Assad,” he added.
During the event, Yıldırım also said that Turkey wants to repair its ties with Egypt, after relations soured over the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
“We think we need to develop economic and cultural ties with Egypt as countries that use the two sides of the Mediterranean,” he said, adding that high-level relations would not be repaired overnight.
“We think we need to start from somewhere,” he said.
It is not the first time Yildirim has expressed hope for improved relations with Egypt. In June, he said he did not want to see “permanent enmity” with countries such as Egypt and Syria.