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03/05/2020

Syrian Baath Party Executive hints: Assad is ready to meet Erdogan

Syrian Baath Party Executive hints: Assad is ready to meet Erdogan

As part of Idlib crises the tension on the field is still taut. But on the contrary the official statements of the leaders contribute to defuse the tension on the table.

Before the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, both sides remarked the political solution on Idlib as the best way.

We asked the Idlib crises and the ways of solution to Dr. Bessam Abu Abdullah, Executive of Syrian Baath Party.

‘LIBERATING IDLIB SOLVES THE REFUGEE PROBLEM’

1.There is a serious concern of Turkey on the refugee influx. There are 3-4 million population in Idlib and as Syrian army advance, Arabs want to cross the Turkish border. Does Syrian government have a plan about this Arab population? Did you relay your plan to Turkish government? There are also 3.7 million Syrian immigrants in Turkey. What’s the plan of Syrian government to turn back these immigrants to Syria?

First of all, we should not connect the refugee influx only the Idlib crises.

AKP government invaded the Syria and then they said that they were ready to humanitarian assistance. Some circulus in AKP thought the Syrian government could collapse in a few months. Unfortunately for them Syrian government and Syrian army is resisting during 10 years. After 10 years the economic situation of Turkey is going bad. Turkish government is part of it because AKP supported Muslim Brotherhood in many countries (Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya). So this is one of the reason why the people were coming to Turkey before 2011 and why they are coming to Turkey as a refugee now. Because of the wrong policies of AKP government. They supported the extremist around the world. Because Erdoğan wants to control the other countries territories.

So I think the answer of the plan of Syria is stop the war. This is should be the role of the Turkish government. Absolutely to find the solution. Solution is not more and more hostility against the Syrian government. Opposite of that Turkish government should decide to stop this war and help to Astana process.

If we compare today and before 2011, our relations was a model for the region. What happened and why everything was changed? The people who were visiting Turkey before as a tourist became a refugee now.

The plan of Syrian government firstly Syria is open for every Syrian who wants to return. We declared it many time. Secondly before the anti-terror operation start in Idlib Syrian government and Russia opened 3 humanitarian exit corridors for the civil people. But terrorist organizations prevented to come to people toward the Syrian government control regions. So there is no way for Syrian government to leave these people on the hands of these terrorists (El Nusra, HTŞ, East Turkistan Party). So we are fighting in Idlib against these terrorist organizations, not against Turkish army. They are very bad instruments. And unfortunately Turkish government supported some extremists.

We are not against the Turkish people and Turkey but are opposed to the AKP’s policies in Idlib. 

‘SYRIA IS NOT A THREAT FOR TURKEY’

2. Ruhani, President of Iran made an offer to Erdoğan on the trio meeting (summit) between Syria, Iran and Turkey to solve the crises together. Did Ruhani colsult this offer before to Syrian government? How do you evaluate this offer?

I think the trio meeting can’t solve the crises. There is already a political process you know Astana between Ankara, Moscow and Tehran. So it is more practical. Of course President Ruhani is trying to find a solution. But now for an certain solution, firstly the governments of two countries (Turkey-Syria) have to contact directly and Turkey should develop an attitude toward the terrorist organizations in Idlib. AKP government should stop to hostility against the Syrian government because this attitude damages both country and effects the all process in the region. The Syrian government is not a threat against the interest of Turkey and it will never happen.

‘COULD BE PARALLEL TO RUSSIAN PLAN ATTACK’

3.On the 13th of January 2020, Hakan Fidan and Ali Memluk, heads of the intelligence services meet in Moscow. After such high-level negotiations started, what happened to the two countries on the brink of war? Which forces damaged to this process?

General Memluk and Hakan Fidan met in Moscow on 13thof January 2020. This meeting was after the visit of Putin to Damascus on 7thof January and then he left from Damascus to Istanbul to meet with Mr. Erdoğan. There have been negotiations between the security forces before. These were very important steps. But then what happened? There are same sides it is not first time, we should remember that some sides in Turkey attacked to Russian plan. I think it was interested with the Gulen organization. It was against the relations between Turkey and Russia. After that Russian ambassador was assassinated in Ankara. So we should study which sides can benefit from these crises; USA, Israel, NATO and other Western countries. So I think there is no way for the refugees, for the security, for the relations without direct meeting between both governments!

So I think the meeting between Hakan Fidan and Ali Memluk was a good step. And Russians wanted to build a meeting for a political solution between Syria and Turkey. There were also some parts in AKP who did not want to process for solution. So the process was failed.

Only way to stop the war is return to the Adana agreement. Because the security concerns are not only one side but also another side. And only solutions is direct meeting. President Asad is more positive and he is ready to meet if the national interest of Syria is need to meet with anyone. So Syrian side is more positive for any initiative either they don’t trust Erdoğan government. But anyway we should moving forward. So the mentality of the hostility and violence is not working and will not bring anything to Turkey and Turkish people. Only the positive approach can work.

‘WE ARE ABSOLUTELY AGAINST THE PYD/PKK’ 

4.Some political experts in Turkey making a propaganda that if Turkey withdraw from Idlib, Syrian government will agree with PYD and they will attack to Turkey. What do you think about this argument? Is there any reality?

This is very big lie. It is not reality. Who is supporting PYD? United Stated. Who is supporting? The enemies of Erdoğan. I think he knows that very well.  We are absolutely against the separatist. We declared that several time officially. But now PYD isn’t resisting in Idlib. Radical Islamist terrorist organizations as Al-Qaida is fighting in Idlib against us. So Idlib is different from PYD. We declared our official position as opposition against any kind of separatist project. And PYD is getting support from United States and from Israel. Not from Syrian government. When we liberate Idlib from terrorists, we will be free to move face together with separatist organizations who are getting support from USA and Israel and other western countries. So Turkish public opinion should know that Syrian government is against any kind of separatist project and organization and we will never allow to work of these projects.

‘COOPERATE WITH ASTANA PROCESS’

5. What is the solution of Idlib crisis? Is it possible any political solution?

I want to ask to AKP government. What about the situation when we had very good relations? They worked in many years with our embassy in Turkey. I know that. There was stability, our purpose was good, the commercial and tourism was going through from our borders. The situation was very good. But when AKP government started to support Muslim Brotherhood who is a criminal movement for Syria, the situation has changed. Now, USA is supporting the war against Syria and wants to divide Syria and Turkey. So most realistic attitude is studying carefully and objectively and cooperate with common interests. I want to inform the public opinion of Turkey, Syrian government is very positive in this way. The only solution is stop to support extremist groups in Idlib and meet directly between the governments. There is no other solution. So we should continue to cooperate with Astana process and work step by step for finishing the presence of terrorist organizations. Because the future is not good for any country with these terrorist organizations. PKK is terrorist organization but also Al-Qaida is a terrorist organization. There isn’t any difference. Until we will finish these terrorist organizations, our future won’t be secure.

Elif İlhamoğlu
Elif İlhamoğlu is political scientist and  journalist (Turkey). She is studying for PHD on the political science and international relations department at Istanbul University (Middle East studies). She visited Middle East countries, Syria, Lebanon, Iran several times and did interviews with the leaders as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hilal al-Hilal Secretary General of the Syrian Ba'ath Party.

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