UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Let's set aside differences over Syria: Turkey

Iran Press TV

Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:22AM

Turkey has invited various parties to join in the adoption of a new shared attitude toward the crisis in Syria by setting aside conflicting interests.

Speaking on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, "It is vital that, without losing more time, a new page is opened in Syria."

Such a revised outlook has to be "based on a model involving particularly Turkey, Iran… Russia, the United States and even some [Persian] Gulf states and Saudi Arabia."

From the belly of the West to the bosom of the East?

Turkey, along with the US and the Arab dictatorships of the Persian Gulf, has been supporting the militants fighting the elected Syrian government. Recently, however, and amid newly emerged differences with the West, Turkey has been gravitating toward Russia, which supports the Damascus government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and called for a "clean slate" in the bilateral ties, which had been soured by Turkish military's downing of a Russian jet over Syria last year.

Ankara has also enhanced its ties with Iran following a failed coup in Turkey, which Iran became the first country to condemn. Iran, too, has consistently emphasized that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the sole legitimate entity to run Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last week made an unannounced visit to Iran, discussing with Iranian officials a range of issues, including the Syrian conflict. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif of Iran had earlier visited Turkey following the coup bid.

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi implied that the viewpoints of Iran and Turkey may be converging on issues of disagreement. One such issue may be the Syrian conflict.

The US and dozens of its allies have been hitting the purported positions of Daesh inside Syria since 2014. Some observers say the campaign has achieved little given its scope. Washington has, meanwhile, been accusing Moscow of targeting "moderate" militants. Moscow says there are no such militants, saying all elements working toward destabilizing Syria have to be targeted.

Torn between Kurds and Assad

Ankara may also be softening its rhetoric against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose ouster it has always been promoting. On Saturday, Yildirim said that Assad is "one of the actors" in Syria even as he said the Syrian president will ultimately have to quit.

In his Monday remarks, Yildirim, the Turkish prime minister, said Ankara's stance was "very clear: not allowing Syria to be divided, maintaining its territorial integrity and not allowing any formation that will bring advantages to any group."

Turkey is of course concerned about the prospect of the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria. Ankara is vehemently opposed to any independent Kurdish state, whether in Syria, Iraq, or inside Turkey itself, where the Turkish military has been fighting separatist militants for a long time now

"It is essential that all the parties come together to stop the bloodshed in Syria and form a model of governance where all Syrians are represented," Yildirim said.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list