Turkish president hosts Syrian Turkmens, as UN’s Mistura visits Ankara

Turkish president hosts Syrian Turkmens, as UN’s Mistura visits Ankara

Turkish president hosts Syrian Turkmens, as UN’s Mistura visits Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosts the Syrian Turkmen Assembly on Jan. 7, 2016. AA Photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has hosted delegations from the Bayırbucak Turkmens and the Syrian Turkmen Assembly in separate meetings, while the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria also paid a brief visit to the Turkish capital.

Erdoğan met with the Bayırbucak delegation late on Jan. 7, with the presidential office sharing photographs from the meeting on its official webpage. The meeting was not announced on the president’s official daily schedule released in the morning.

Turkey is standing by the Turkmens, Erdoğan told the delegation, noting that he had been following the developments in Turkmen villages in the Bayırbucak area of northwestern Syria, close to Turkey’s Yayladağı border gate in Hatay province, sources from the president’s office told state-run Anadolu Agency.

“Turkey has been trying to convey the oppression imposed on the people by the al-Assad regime, its supporters and terrorist organizations … to the international community,” Erdoğan told the delegation, according to the agency reported.

The Turkish-backed ethnic Turkmen minority has recently been at the center of Turkey’s growing tension with Russia following the latter’s airstrikes in northern Syria where the Syrian Turkmens, who are Syrians of Turkic descent, have been living. 

Earlier in the evening of Jan. 7, Erdoğan conducted another meeting that was also not announced beforehand, hosting the president of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly, Abdurrahman Mustafa, and a member of the assembly, Firas Doğancı. Anadolu Agency said the closed-door meeting lasted around one hour.

Elsewhere in Ankara, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu hosted U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura. Diplomatic sources told Anadolu that the two diplomats discussed the Syrian crisis and related regional developments. 

Before traveling to Turkey, Mistura paid a visit to Riyadh where he met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir amid spiraling sectarian tension between the Sunni-majority kingdom and Shiite Iran. Late on Jan. 7, Mistura was expected to proceed to neighboring Iran, the agency said.