The leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has given support to the recent statement by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who had indicated his country’s plan to mend relations with neighboring Syria.
“Turkey’s steps toward Syria are valuable and accurate. No one living in this country, regardless of their origin or sect, is [an outsider] or the enemy of our country,” Devlet Bahceli said in a written statement released on Monday.
He emphasized that Syrians are brothers of the Turkish people, having strong ties based on history, culture and faith.
Raising the level of Turkey’s talks with Syria to the level of “political dialogue, and in this context, the removal of terrorist organizations from every geographical area where they are nested, is likely to be one of the issues on the political agenda ahead, and it is even worthy of serious consideration,” Bahceli said.
“It is our sincere desire and hope that the atmosphere of normalization will prevail in every area and with every neighbor by 2023. What the vast geography that we live on tells us is living by embracing, not fighting, is the only option. The only political will to achieve this is the People’s Alliance,” the veteran Turkish politician said.
Addressing the 13th Ambassadors Conference in the capital Ankara on August 11, Cavusoglu stated that he had a brief conservation with his Syrian counterpart Faisal al-Mekdad on the sidelines of the two-day Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in the Serbian capital city of Belgrade last October.
The top Turkish diplomat stressed the need for reconciliation between opposition groups and the Damascus government, stating that there will be no lasting peace in the war-ravaged country until such an ideal is achieved.
“There must be a powerful government in place to prevent the partition of Syria, and there must be an administration that can control the country’s entire territories. This can only be attained through unity,” Cavusoglu said.
The remarks came a week after the Turkish foreign minister said Ankara is prepared to assist the Syrian government in its efforts to flush out members of the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militant group from energy-rich areas in northeastern Syria.
Cavusoglu told the Turkish-language TV1000 television news station that his nation is prepared to cooperate with Damascus in such a campaign.
“We will give all kinds of political support to the work of the [Syrian] regime in this regard. It is the most natural right of the regime to clear a terrorist organization in its own territory,” the top Turkish diplomat said.
Earlier this year, Turkish media reported that Ankara was evaluating the possibility of starting talks with the Syrian government and that discussions were underway for new relations to be built between the two neighbors.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, citing informed sources, asserted on April 4 that discussions were taking place in the Turkish capital of Ankara on restoring normal relations.
“The balanced policy recently adopted by Turkey and the role that Ankara has played in recent months, especially in resolving the war in Ukraine, have made the current time appropriate for resolving the Syrian crisis,” the Turkish daily said.
Citing the sources, the paper said the already existing relations between Damascus and Ankara can be improved and that the current situation may open a new door of opportunities for Turkey, especially for resolving the Syrian issue and the question of the militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push YPG fighters away from border areas.
Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown PKK, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to Turkey's ongoing ground offensive.