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Turkish Ruling Party Official Calls Assad's Terms for Talks With Erdogan Inappropriate

© Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov / Go to the mediabankTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 Summit in Bali. File photo.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 Summit in Bali. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.03.2023
ANTAKYA (Sputnik) - Syrian President Bashar Assad’s statement about his readiness to negotiate with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan only after the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria is inappropriate, Orhan Miroglu, a member of the central decision-making committee of the ruling Justice and Development Party, told Sputnik.
Assad made the comment in an interview with Sputnik, which was the first international news agency to interview the Syrian president right after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Wednesday.
Syrian President Bashar Assad  - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2023
Assad Says Ready to Meet With Erdogan Only After Withdrawal of Turkiye's Troops From Syria

"In diplomatic practice, it is forbidden to raise the ceiling of demands upon the start of negotiations, if both sides intend to reach a compromise and mutual understanding and find a solution to differences … In this case, if Assad sets preconditions for Turkiye, then Ankara has the right to demand that Damascus stop supporting the YPG group [People's Defense Units, military wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, designated a terrorist organization by Turkiye]," Miroglu said.

The Syrian army holds control over "some parts of the territory of Syria together with this group," Miroglu added.
The likelihood of holding a meeting between Erdogan and Assad before May's presidential election in Turkiye is extremely small, the politician noted, adding that if Erdogan wins the election, the goal of Turkiye's foreign policy will remain to resolve the problems with Syria, but "this will not be fulfilled through the concessions demanded by Assad."
The war in Syria has been going on since 2011, with Assad's forces fighting various armed insurgent groups. Since 2016, the Turkish armed forces have been also conducting air and ground operations in Syria against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which wants to establish a Kurdish autonomy in Turkiye. Damascus has repeatedly called the presence of Turkish forces in Syrian territory illegal and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.
In 2017, Russia, Turkiye and Iran launched a mediation group on the Syrian settlement in Astana. In January 2018, the Russian city of Sochi hosted a congress of the Syrian national dialogue, the first such attempt since the start of the conflict to gather an inclusive pool of Syrian political forces. The main result of the Congress was the decision to create a Constitutional Committee, which operates in Geneva and whose main task is to prepare a constitutional reform in Syria.
In December 2022, the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Turkiye held trilateral talks in Moscow to discuss ways to resolve the Syrian crisis. The negotiations marked the first official meeting between the Turkish and Syrian defense chiefs in 11 years.
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