Türkiye says ‘last step’ needed before proposed meeting between Erdogan and Assad

Syrian regime media reported that Turkey agreed to completely withdraw its army from northern Syria following tripartite talks it held with Damascus and Moscow. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said such a move requires progress in the political process.

“Our defense minister and intelligence chief presented our position and the necessary explanations during the meeting in Moscow,” Cavusoglu told reporters on Saturday.

“We always say that if there is a vacuum, terrorist organizations should not fill this vacuum,” he added, explaining that his country is aware of Syrian sovereignty over the territories where Turkish forces are stationed. .

The head of diplomacy went on to say that Turkey had no “ambition” to seize Syrian lands.

“We support the territorial integrity of Syria, but there must be stability in northern Syria and some steps must be taken in the political process,” he noted.

“We have been saying this for a long time,” he stressed.

Last Wednesday, the defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Syria met in Moscow.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow.

Intelligence officials from the three countries were also present at the meeting.

The meeting dealt, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, with the issue of “the safe return of Syrian refugees, cooperation in the fight against terrorist organizations and the political process in Syria”.

Discussions between Turkish and Syrian intelligence services had paved the way for the high-level meeting.

Separately, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said in previous statements that he has offered Russian President Vladimir Putin a summit meeting, preceded by a meeting of intelligence chiefs and defense and foreign ministers. .

Cavusoglu said the next step after the meeting of defense ministers “will be to hold a meeting of foreign ministers and he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the issue.”

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