"The (Syrian) regime does not believe in a political solution, it believes in a military solution. A permanent solution is a political solution. We've been saying it from the beginning," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics in the capital Ankara.
Türkiye believes that reconciliation is essential for lasting peace in Syria, he said, adding that Ankara strongly supports Syria's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Cavusoglu also noted that it is not the first time that the regime and the opposition in Syria have come together. "We have made a very important contribution to this. Why? Because the opposition trusts us. We have never let the opposition down. We say that this reconciliation is essential for lasting peace and stability in Syria."
Commenting on a recent attempt to burn the Turkish flag in northern Syria, the minister said: "We know who the perpetrators are. The hands of those who reach out to our flag will also be broken. The Syrians themselves have already made the necessary explanations, including the interim government. They also know these provocateurs." Earlier, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced that two people were arrested following the incident.
Regarding the PKK terrorist group, Cavusoglu said: "There is a terrorist organization in Syria that also threatens us: PKK/PYD/YPG. (They are) the same terrorist organization. These terrorists and the remnants of Daesh and other radical terrorist organizations must be completely cleared from this country," he said, adding that it is important for Türkiye's safety and Syria's stability.
Cavusoglu said on Thursday that he had a brief talk with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in October in Serbia’s capital Belgrade while the Foreign Ministry underlined Friday that Türkiye will continue to show solidarity with the people of Syria and pursue efforts to find a permanent solution to the Syrian crisis.
“We need to bring the opposition and regime together for reconciliation somehow, there will be no permanent peace otherwise,” the top diplomat said while addressing reporters on the last day of the 13th Ambassadors Conference in Türkiye’s capital Ankara.
Cavusoglu stressed the need for a strong central administration to prevent the disintegration of Syria, highlighting that this would only be possible with unity. “The will that can dominate every corner of its lands can only be achieved through unity and solidarity,” he added.
The short encounter marks the first time the top Turkish diplomat has interacted with a Syrian official as Türkiye has backed moderate opposition groups against the Bashar Assad regime since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Also, Turkish forces have carried out several cross-border operations to clear its border from the occupation of the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian affiliate, the YPG, and the Daesh terrorist group in order to provide national border security and create a stable environment for local people living near Turkish borders.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also said Friday that Türkiye is the country that has made the most effort to find a solution to the Syrian conflict in line with the legitimate expectations of the people.