Speaking today at a gala for International Customs Day organised by Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, “Turkey is not only hosting refugees in its lands, at the same time, especially in the last six months, we have taken significant initiatives to end this meaningless war. Our stance in Syria today has pioneered the possibility of a solution.”
The prime minister continued, “A joint effort with Syria, Russia and Iran has led to the implementation of a ceasefire and has halted the bloodshed. The next step is to include the other stakeholders into the process under the umbrella of the UN in order to ensure a lasting solution and permanent political consistency in Syria.”
Turkey has long maintained that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be removed from power in order for a solution to be reached. The Turkish army is currently fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in the Northern Syrian town of al-Bab and Ankara has vowed not to hand over the regions taken from IS to the Syrian government. However, Ali Akbar Velayati, the principal adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, had claimed that with the Astana talks Turkey had effectively recognised the legitimacy of the Syrian government.