Turkish Foreign Minister signals U-turn in Syrian policy
Turkish Foreign Minister signaled a dramatic U-turn in Ankara's Syrian policy as he said on Thursday that they must reconcile the Syrian administration with the opposition.
Speaking in the Ambassadors' Conference in the Turkish capital, Mevlut Cavusoglu said:
"Syria must have a strong administration if a division of this country is to be prevented. A political will can be enforced across Syria only through unity."
"We must find a way to reconcile the Syrian opposition with the Syrian regime. We can't have a lasting peace otherwise."
Cavusoglu also disclosed that he recently had a dialogue with his Syrian counterpart.
"I had a short conversation with the Syrian Foreign Minister during the Non-Alligned Movement summit in Belgrade," he said.
The conversation of two ministers in Belgrade marks the first high-level meeting between Turkey and Syria since 2011.
Turkey has supported a regime change through military means since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. The recent signal of policy change comes immediately after Russian President Putin asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to work closely with the Syrian administration to solve security issues.
Ankara is faced with a dilemma as it needs to have Russia's support for a fresh military campaign against Kurds in north Syria, while the support requires mending ties with the Syrian administration that Ankara has tried to overthrow by all possible means in the last 11 years.