Turkish pro-gov't daily: Erdoğan, Assad might speak on the phone

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might soon hold a telephone conversation, according to Turkey's pro-government daily Türkiye.

Erdoğan and Assad shake hands during a meeting in Aleppo in 2011 in this file photo.

Duvar English

Turkey's pro-government newspaper Türkiye has written that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might hold a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The newspaper said that “important decisions” were taken with regards to Syria during the Tehran and Sochi meetings and that Turkey had proposed to Russia and Iran that a “joint operation” be undertaken against Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) with the involvement of the Syrian regime.

Ankara considers the YPG to be the Syrian extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), seen as a terrorist group by Turkey.  It has staged several incursions into Syria in support of Syrian rebels to push the YPG from the Turkish frontier.

“It is being said that a gulf country and another Muslim country in Africa are running a diplomacy traffic with two sides [Turkey and Syria] for the Erdoğan-Assad contact. It is being said that the Erdoğan-Assad contact, for which Ankara says is 'Yet early,' can take place over the phone,” the newspaper wrote.

On Aug. 4, Erdoğan held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Sochi, during which the two leaders also addressed issues concerning Syria.

On his way back to Turkey, Erdoğan answered reporters' questions on the plane, saying that he had been advised by Putin to talk to the Syrian regime with regards to issues concerning the “fight with terrorism.”

“Putin expresses that he will always stand by us [Turkey] with regards to issues concerning fight with terrorism. He is implying this to us: 'It would much better hit the purpose if you choose to solve these [issues] together with the [Syrian] regime, as much as possible.' And we tell him that our intelligence organization is already running [a dialogue for] these issues with the Syrian intelligence, but the whole problem is getting a result,” Erdoğan had said.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan on Aug. 8 once again signaled a new operation into Syria, saying that the country would be soon “cleared of terrorists.” “Our decision to establish a 30-kilometer security line in our southern border still stands. We will soon clear the last regions that harbor terror groups in Syria and unite the rings of this security belt,” Erdoğan said.