Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during the 13th Ambassadors Conference in Ankara, Türkiye, on Aug 8, 2022. (ADEM ALTAN / AFP)
ANKARA – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that the next contact with the Syrian government as part of a road map for dialogue between the two countries will be between the foreign ministers.
The foreign ministers' meeting will be the second stage of the contact after defense ministers of Russia, Türkiye and Syria met in Moscow on Wednesday for normalization between Türkiye and Syria in the decade-long Syrian war, Cavusoglu told reporters at a press briefing in the capital Ankara.
The meeting in Moscow marked the first high-level contact between the two neighbors since 2011 when the Syrian war broke out, as Türkiye has backed the rebels fighting the government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
The meeting in Moscow marked the first high-level contact between the two neighbors since 2011 when the Syrian war broke out, as Türkiye has backed the rebels fighting the government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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"I can say it was a useful meeting. We see that an engagement with the (Syrian) government is important for a political solution," Cavusoglu said.
"A meeting at the level of foreign ministers is now scheduled. But there is no concrete timetable yet," he added.
This engagement with Damascus is also important for the reconciliation between the Syrian opposition and the Syrian government, the Turkish minister noted.
However, Cavusoglu stressed that Ankara has not changed its stance on a possible land incursion into Syria in case of a threat against Türkiye despite the ongoing dialogue.
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"Our fight against terrorism in Syria will continue with determination. This can be on land or by air. The current engagement with the government, direct or indirect contacts, does not prevent our fight against terrorism," he said.
In November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to launch a ground operation into northern Syria against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara considers the YPG the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States and the European Union, and has rebelled against the Turkish government for more than three decades.