Following the visit of two top Turkish security officials to Moscow, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday that Turkey and Russia think differently about a political change in Syria.
Speaking in an interview with Russia’s state-run Rossiya-24, Çavuşoğlu said, “We have some differences of opinion as to whether it will be with or without Assad.”
“In our opinion, it is not possible that the opposition will unite around [Bashar al] Assad, because they don’t want to unite around a regime that killed at least 500,000 people,” he added.
As part of a swift rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, especially after a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan paid a visit to Russia on Tuesday to discuss cooperation and developments.
Underlining Turkey’s important role in the US-led coalition forces fighting against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Çavuşoğlu said: “Why is Daesh [Arabic acronym of ISIL] targeting Turkey? First of all, Turkey has a very important role in the coalition against Daesh, and many countries’ fighter jets are at our airbases. The jets of NATO countries within the coalition at Incirlik Air Base are carrying out operations against Daesh. And we are actively participating in the fight against Daesh.”