The four-nation summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France took place in the Turkish city of Istanbul on October 27.
Speaking at a joint news conference after the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the event aimed at reaching a full cease-fire to halt hostilities in the war-torn country. He added that Astana peace talks format had set an example to the international community in efforts to solve the crisis, adding that Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France had “fruitful and sincere” consultations during the October 27 summit.
“We have agreed to boost the cooperation between our four countries and at the international level,” Erdogan added noting that Iran will be informed on the outcomes of the summit.
Nonetheless, the statements by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed that there are still contradictions within the attitudes of the sides on the conflicts. One of this issues is a possible military operation to put an end to the presence of the terrorist groups in northwestern Syria.
French President Macron stated that the military operation by the Syrian military in the militant-held province of Idlib is unacceptable. It’s interesting to note that President Erdogan stressed that Ankara would not allow terrorist presence in any region of Syria. However, the Turkish President most likely refered to Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria, not to the terrorists in Idlib.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that Russia, Turkey, Germany and France have common goals in Syria. However, she did not reveal what kind of the goals these are.
Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that the constitutional committee would be set up this year, adding that Russia, Turkey, Germany and France have coordinated their approaches to the situation in Syria. He also stressed that the work must be done with heed to Damascus.
The only practical step agreed by the sides is the establishment of the constitutional committee, which would be supported by Russia, Turkey, Germany and France. The US and its key regional ally, Israel, were openly excluded from the talks on the fate of post-war Syria.
Meanwhile, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, also held talks in Istanbul focusing on implementation of the agreements on Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the sides “considered steps to join efforts over the situation in Syria in the part of battling terrorism, of accelerating the political process for resolution [of the conflict] – on the basis of Resolution 2254 of the United Nations Security Council and decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, – of creating conditions for the soonest return of refugees to their homes and of post-war restoration of the country.”
The foreign ministers paid “special attention” to the “implementation of September 17 agreements between the Russian and Turkish presidents on the de-escalation zone in Idlib”.
Apart from that, Lavrov and Cavusoglu touched upon a wide range of international issue including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Ukraine crisis and the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.