Ankara has said it wants to re-establish good relations with Syria, BBC reported.
Up to today, the government of Turkey has been preferring to advocate the overthrow of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. However, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Turkey needs to improve relations with Syria “for the fight against terrorism” and stability in the region.
“It is our greatest and irrevocable goal: developing good relations with Syria and Iraq, and all our neighbours that surround the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” Yildirim said in comments broadcast live on television on July 13.
The Syrian government still has not given an official response.
Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Syria were severed in 2011, after the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. Turkey is the main backer of both the political and armed Syrian opposition. In December, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, alleged that Assad had “mercilessly killed 400,000 innocent people”.
Now Turkey decided to change its opinion. However, at the same time, the Turkish Prime Minister stressed that any shift in Turkey’s policy towards Syria was dependent on Bashar al-Assad, and accused him of creating the conditions that gave rise to the jihadist group, Islamic State (IS).
“Things need to change in Syria, but first of all Assad should change. Unless Assad changes, nothing changes in Turkey,” Binali Yildirim said in an interview with BBC HARDtalk.
“As long as Assad is there, the problem won’t be solved,” he added. “We’ll have some other terrorist organisation coming up because it’s the attitude of the Syrian regime which created [IS].”
Last month, Turkey normalized relations with Israel and Russia. Turkey’s new initiative comes at a time of great political instability in the country. Only since the beginning of this year, there were 40 terrorist attacks in Turkey. On July 14, French diplomatic missions in Turkey cancelled their Bastille Day celebrations for ‘security reasons’.