Turkey: Intelligence service asks Syrian opposition leaders to leave by the end of the year

Turkey: Intelligence service asks Syrian opposition leaders to leave by the end of the year
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As Ankara seeks rapprochement with Damascus, support for Syrian opposition diminishes in Turkey, reports say

Turkey’s national intelligence held a series of talks with Syrian opposition leaders and asked them to leave Turkey before the end of the year, reported the Arabic version of the Russian Sputnik news agency.

Ankara has been securing special offices for the "Syrian Opposition Coalition" on its territory, in addition to allocating its members with monthly salaries and other packages of benefits. 

The sources revealed that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to close all the offices of the "opposition coalition" in Turkey, and to stop funding its members according to a specific timetable that ends at the latest at the end of this year, Sputnik reported. 

Sputnik said the step was taken against the background of the Syrian-Turkish rapprochement “under the auspices of Russia,” and "the members of the coalition have already begun to search for other options to open offices in some Gulf countries."

The members of the Syrian opposition who were given Turkish citizenship will be able to stay in the country if they stop all political activity and appearance in the media.

In late August, Iranian private Tasnim agency had also reported that Turkish officials requested the Syrian opposition leaders living in Turkey to leave but opposition leaders denied allegations. 

After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi in mid-August, President Erdogan turned to using a softer tone on Syria saying “diplomacy between states can never be fully severed,” and “Turkey did not seek the removal of Assad administration.”

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said last month that Turkey “needs  to somehow come to terms with the opposition and the regime in Syria. "Otherwise, there will be no lasting peace."