Egypt and Turkey, Sissi and Erdoğan

After Egypt, Turkey does not rule out normalizing relations with Syria

“Just as Turkey-Egypt relations have improved, that can happen with Syria. In politics, there is no room for resentment,” says Erdoğan.

Turkey seeks to end the civil war in Syria through negotiations led by the United Nations that aim to reform the country’s constitution, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu declared Monday, noting the possibility of normalizing relations with Syria after the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Egypt.

Our goal is to end the civil war in Syria. We are carrying out the process with the (Syrian) opposition. Along with the (Assad) government, the opposition is also participating in the Astana process,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters. “We want to reactivate the political process, including the negotiations for the new constitution. It is part of our commitment (to Syria). Progress is needed on the initiative of the Constitutional Committee, but that has not happened yet,” he added.

The Turkish foreign minister thus referred to the negotiations sponsored by the UN under resolution 2254 of the United Nations Security Council, which stipulates the drafting of a new constitution with the consensus of the opposition and the Syrian government and later the holding of elections. However, the process so far remains stalled due to the obstacles put up by the Assad regime.

Regarding the negotiations to normalize relations with Egypt, Çavuşoğlu stressed that Ankara and Cairo could hold a third round of technical negotiations before a ministerial-level meeting takes place. “We could exchange ambassadors in the next few months,” he noted.

Improved relations with Egypt

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan himself stated yesterday that ties between Turkey and Syria could in the future develop in a similar way to how Turkey is now developing its relations with the Egyptian government. “Just as relations between Turkey and Egypt have started to normalize, in the coming period that may happen with Syria as well. In politics, there is no place for resentment“, said the Turkish president during an event in Konya.

“Recently, we have experienced a problem that has lasted nine years (with Egypt). We have taken steps, with the support of the Emir of Qatar. After overcoming the tensions, we had a close meeting with Al-Sissi for 30 to 45 minutes,” Erdoğan commented, suggesting that a similar meeting with the Syrian president might be possible in the future. Referring to the meeting with the Egyptian president in Qatar, Erdoğan added that Al-Sissi was “very happy” with this meeting, and that “we conveyed the same message to him.”