Akar: Meeting between leaders of Turkey, Syria possible

Akar: Meeting between leaders of Turkey, Syria possible
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Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said meeting with his Syrian counterpart showed Turkey could agree with Syria

Turkish and Syrian leaders may meet when convenient, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday, strengthening the mood of rapprochement between the neighboring countries after meeting his Syrian counterpart in Moscow on Wednesday, a first since the Syrian civil war erupted 11 years ago.

"We understood that we could agree with them. We hope that this process will gradually develop," Akar said.

A statement by the defense ministry earlier said the meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere and the sides discussed “Syrian crisis, the refugee problem and joint efforts to combat all terrorist organizations.”

According to Akar, “Turkey set the target: terrorists.”

“We also said to our Syrian brothers that we did not act in a way that would harm them in any way," Akar said.

The next step would be a meeting between foreign ministers, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists at a year-end presser in Ankara. He said that a meeting date is not yet set, though sources in Ankara say it is to take place early in 2023.

The ministerial proceedings went according to the plan of President Tayyip Erdogan. On December 15, he said:

"First our intelligence agencies, then defense ministers, and then foreign ministers could meet. After their meetings we as the leaders may come together. I offered it to Mr Putin and he has a positive view on it."