President Erdoğan open to meeting Syria's Assad to restore ties

Turkish President Erdoğan has stated that he remained open to a potential meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to work towards mending the relations between the two neighboring nations.

Then-PM Erdoğan, Syrian President al-Assad, Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad, and Turkish First Lady Emine Erdoğan in 2009 gather in a "family meeting," as Erdoğan refered in his latest remark.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 28 that he did not rule out a possible meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to help restore bilateral relations between the neighbors.

Turkey severed ties with Syria after the 2011 Syrian civil war and supported rebels looking to oust Assad.

It has carried out several cross-border military operations against militants it says threaten its national security and formed a "safe zone" in northern Syria where Turkish troops are now stationed.

However, amid a regional charm offensive aimed predominantly at normalizing ties with Gulf countries, Turkey has also said it may restore ties with Damascus if there is progress on the fight against terrorism, on the safe and voluntary return of millions of refugees hosted by Turkey, and on the political process.

Asked by reporters about Assad's reported comments that his government was open to normalization initiatives as long as they respected Syria's sovereignty and contributed to counter-terrorism, Erdoğan said Ankara and Damascus could act to restore ties.

"There is no reason for it not to happen," Erdoğan said, and added Turkey had no intention of interfering in Syria's internal affairs.

"Just as we kept our ties very lively in the past - we even held talks between our families with Mr Assad - it is certainly not possible (to say) this will not happen again in the future, it can happen," he said after Friday prayers.

Syrian officials have repeatedly said that any moves towards normalizing ties between Damascus and Ankara can only come after Turkey agrees to pull out thousands of troops it has stationed in the rebel-held northwest.

In April 2023, the defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Iran, Russia, Syria and Turkey held talks, as part of efforts to rebuild Turkey-Syria ties after years of animosity.