24 Sep 2018 09:47

Erdogan says hopeful energetic effort towards settling Syria crisis continues in Astana format

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the Astana format laid a foundation for settling the Syria crisis and expressed the hope for further cooperation in this format.

"The Astana format, which we have been maintaining lately together with Russia and Iran, has prepared the ground for settling the Syria crisis that has been on for eight years. We were convinced that we should demonstrate our responsibility, so we did a lot to resolve the problem. Our opinions and approaches differ, but we are trying to find points of contact, instead of disagreement. I am sure that our active cooperation will continue," Erdogan said in an article published by the newspaper Kommersant on Monday.

"Regretfully, the [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] regime is blackening and conducting propaganda against Turkey, it is pretending not to notice the Turkish effort to bring peace [to Syria] and ensure the return of millions of people home, and it is making baseless allegations," Erdogan said.

"We [Turkey] disregard the slanderous allegations of the [al-Assad] regime, which has been causing horrid suffering of its own people for years, and keep to what we deem to be the right way to peace and tranquility of the Syrian people," Erdogan said.

"The Syrian crisis has led to a humanitarian catastrophe, the consequences of which will persist for years," he said.

"As a brother, Turkey opened its borders to more than 3.5 million refugees who had to flee their country. We could not have acted differently towards our brothers trying to save their lives and escape from the cruelty of the al-Assad regime. As you know, Turkey has borne the cost of saving their lives on its own. Regretfully, the international community disregarded our appeals and did nothing substantial to share the burden with our country," Erdogan said.