15 Dec 2022 13:43

Erdogan says offers Putin to hold trilateral meeting with al-Assad

ISTANBUL. Dec 15 (Interfax) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he had offered Russian President Vladimir Putin to organize a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"I offered Putin to organize a meeting of the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Syria, and he responded positively to the initiative. That would be the beginning of a series of negotiations," the Anadolu agency quoted Erdogan as saying.

Erdogan said he "favors joint steps of Russia, Turkey and Syria." The trilateral meeting could be preceded by negotiations among security services, defense ministers and diplomats, he said.

Speaking of the EU call for Turkey's participation in anti-Russian sanctions, Erdogan said that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell "is not a party to the dialogue and cannot control the relations with Moscow."

Erdogan said in November that Turkish-Syrian relations might begin to improve, just like Turkish-Egyptian relations. Erdogan used to have close relations with al-Assad but things changed after the beginning of a civil war in Syria, when the Turkish leader sided with al-Assad's opponents.