Turkish, Syrian foreign ministers set to meet in January

Turkish, Syrian foreign ministers set to meet in January
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Turkish Foreign Minister said the tripartite meeting might take place in a third country

Turkish, Syrian and Russian foreign ministers will meet in the second half of the January, Turkish top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu said, amid Ankara’s efforts for rapprochement with Damascus administration.

"We have agreed to hold a tripartite meeting in the second half of January. The meeting might take place in a third country," Cavusoglu said on Saturday, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.

Last week, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Syrian counterpart Ali Mahmud Abbas met in Moscow with the participation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for a first high-level contact between the two neighboring countries in 11 years.

Head of Turkey’s Intelligence Agency Hakan Fidan along with Syrian and Russian intelligence chiefs were also present at the meeting, where “the Syrian crisis, the refugee problem and joint efforts to combat all terrorist organizations in Syria” were discussed, according to Akar’s office.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan on Dec.15 said Ankara is willing to take trilateral steps with Moscow and Damascus governments on Syria and made the proposal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who looked positively.

First of all, the three countries’ intelligence services and their defense and foreign ministers could come together respectively Erdogan said. “Then, let's meet as the leaders,” he said.

Ankara’s relations with Damascus have deteriorated a decade ago following a civil war broke in Syria in 2011 and since then, former good “friends” Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad became fierce “enemies”.

Turkey has supported armed Syrian rebels against Assad, providing them military support from the early stages of the civil war.

While Erdogan in the past has repeatedly described Assad as a "terrorist", blaming him of killing his citizens during the civil war, Assad also frequently accused Erdogan of Muslim Brotherhood affiliation.

Turkey eyes on Russia’s mediation to normalize relations with the Syrian regime.