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Turkey says would work with Syria's Assad if he won 'democratic election'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during the 18th edition of Doha Forum in the Qatari capital on December 16, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the Ankara government would consider working with Syrian President Bashar Assad if he won a democratic and credible election.

The Turkish foreign minister made the remarks while addressing the 18th edition of Doha Forum on Sunday.

Asked whether Turkey would consider working with Assad, Cavusoglu said there must first be an election in Syria and “if it is a democratic and credible one, then everybody should consider that [working with Assad].”

“It has to be very credible, transparent, democratic and fair elections. At the end, Syrian people should decide who is going to rule the country after the elections,” Cavusoglu added.

He further noted that the constitution for Syria should be drafted by the people of their own country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Cavusoglu said he believed US President Donald Trump was considering a policy of leaving Syria.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad demanded on November 4 that “occupation” forces from Turkey must leave, emphasizing that the troops must depart the territories of his conflict-plagued Arab country in order for security and stability to be restored there.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (file photo)

The Syrian Arab army is the only party that stands against the Turkish occupation of the Syrian territories,” he told the pro-government and Arabic-language al-Watan daily newspaper.

The Syrian diplomat stated that his country will eventually emerge victorious over terrorism and its sponsors, and all areas will be liberated from the clutches of Americans, Turks and separatists, thanks to the high motivation and sacrifices made by the Syrian nation and Syrian army.

The senior Syrian official highlighted that the Damascus government cannot trust Turkish assurances, because Ankara’s objectives are colonial and expansionist.

“The Ankara government misleads the public opinion inside Turkey and in the (Middle East) region by announcing something, but implementing something else,” Mekdad commented.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Greek Kathimerini newspaper published on May 10, Assad lashed out at Western countries, including France, Britain and the US along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey for supporting various terrorist groups, saying they “should be held accountable” for the bloodshed in Syria.

This photo, taken on May 10, 2018, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad answering questions during an exclusive interview with the Greek Kathimerini newspaper.

Assad said Syria is fighting terrorists, who are the “army” of the US, Turkey and the Saudi regime, stressing that “any aggressor” and “any army … are all enemies as long as they came to Syria illegally.”

The Syrian president further denounced as “aggression” the Turkish operation in Syria's Afrin region, saying, “This is an occupation. Any single Turkish soldier on Syrian soil represents occupation.”

He added that his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “was assigned by the West, mainly the United States, to interfere, [and] to make the situation complicated, again because without this interference, the situation would have been resolved much faster.”

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