Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he proposed to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the formation of a trilateral mechanism with Russia and Syria to accelerate diplomacy between Ankara and Damascus, Reuters reported, citing Turkish media.
Broadcaster Habertürk cited Erdoğan as telling reporters after a trip to Turkmenistan that he offered to Putin initiating a series of meetings between Turkey, Russia and Syria to revisit long-strained relations with Damascus.
“First our intelligence agencies, then defense ministers, and then foreign ministers could meet. After their meetings we as the leaders may come together. I offered it to Mr. Putin, and he has a positive view on it,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying.
Erdoğan has signaled readiness for rapprochement with Syria, saying that there should be no resentment in politics.
Erdoğan’s government backs rebel fighters who have tried to topple President Bashar al-Assad and earlier accused the Syrian leader of state terrorism, saying at the start of the conflict that peace efforts could not continue under his rule.
Assad accuses Turkey of supporting terrorism by backing a number of militants, including Islamist groups, and of repeated military incursions into northern Syria.
Reuters also reported earlier this month that Syria is resisting Russian efforts to broker a summit with Erdoğan after more than a decade of bitter hostility since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war.