News ID: 323701
Published: 0307 GMT August 23, 2022

Turkey has no preconditions for dialogue with Syria: Turkish FM

Turkey has no preconditions for dialogue with Syria: Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

By Javad Mohammad Ali

Turkey does not have preconditions for dialogue with the Syrian government, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday, in a further sign of mending ties between the two neighbors.

Turkey has backed anti-government militants and cut diplomatic relations with Damascus early in the 11-year conflict in the Arab country, Reuters reported.

But the two countries' intelligence chiefs have maintained contact and recent comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government suggest a move towards political engagement, alarming Syrian government’s opponents in the remaining pocket of rebel-held Syria.

Cavusoglu said two weeks ago that the Syrian opposition and government must be brought together for reconciliation, and Erdogan said diplomatic relations could never be fully cut.

After visiting Russia, Erdogan said President Vladimir Putin had suggested that Turkey cooperate with the Syrian government along their joint border, where Erdogan is planning a further military incursion against Syrian Kurdish fighters he says pose a security threat.

Turkey, which has carried out four military operations in northern Syria since 2016, says it is creating a safe zone where some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting could return.

Asked about the prospect for any talks, Cavusoglu said they would need to have specific goals.

"There cannot be a condition for dialogue, but what is the aim of these contacts? The country needs to be cleared of terrorists... People need to be able to return," Cavusoglu told broadcaster Haber Global.

"No conditions for dialogue, but what is the aim, the target? It needs to be goal-oriented," he said.

Asked last week about potential talks with Damascus, Erdogan said diplomacy between states can never be fully severed. There is a "need to take further steps with Syria," he said, according to a transcript of his comments to Turkish media.





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