AK ruling party rejects conditions for Al-Assad-Erdogan meeting
The Turkish ruling party rejects the conditions set by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad regarding a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
Syria's conditions regarding negotiations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad are not suitable for a rapprochement between the two countries, said Orhan Miri Oglu, a member of the Central Decision and Implementation Authority of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK).
"Damascus' conditions regarding negotiations between the two presidents, Syrian Bashar al-Assad and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are not suitable for normalizing relations between the two countries," Miri Oglu underlined, though he noted that it was possible for both leaders to meet after the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, which are set for May 14.
A recent poll published by Turkish agency Optimar revealed that around 43% of the country's eligible voters are considering re-electing incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Read next: Will Turkey’s earthquake cost Erdogan the election?: CNN
According to the Turkish official, Assad is asking Turkey to withdraw from Syrian territories as a condition for rapprochement with Turkey. "It is not permissible to raise the ceiling of demands in diplomatic relations at the start of the talks if the negotiating parties intend to reconcile and find a solution to their differences."
"Al-Assad starting to put pre-conditions on the table before talks with Turkey gives the latter the right to demand that Damascus stop supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces," Meri Oglu told Russian news agency Sputnik.
"The possibility of a meeting between Erdogan and Assad before the Turkish elections is very low. As for their meeting after the elections, it will become clear according to the results of the elections and their balances," he added.
Furthermore, he noted that Syria's conditions may be evaluated after the elections according to their results. "If the People's Alliance and its candidate for the presidential elections, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, win, he will follow a foreign policy different from that of the current AKP government, as the People's Alliance pledges to withdraw from all countries that Turkey aspires to strengthen relations with her and considers her a partner."
Kilicdaroglu became the main opposition leader who will face Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the upcoming presidential elections after the heads of six opposition parties united.
He pledged earlier in the month to "end this madness" and make Turkey a peaceful nation where its various communities can coexist.
It is worth noting that the next election is largely regarded as Turkey's most important since its establishment as a post-Ottoman republic 100 years ago.
"There is no disagreement between the Syrian and Turkish peoples, the problem lies in the personal ambitions of Turkish politicians," Al-Assad said Thursday in Moscow during a visit to Russia.
Commenting on the possibility of his meeting with Erdogan, Al-Assad stressed that Syria's priority was "the withdrawal of illegal foreign forces, that is the Turkish and American forces in Syria."
Meanwhile, Erdogan's priority is the elections and nothing else. "For Syria, the priority is the restoration of national sovereignty," Al-Assad further underlined.
The Syrian President added that only when the conditions are met will he meet with President Erdogan, "there is no specific date for a meeting with Erdogan, it may be today or tomorrow, the timing is not the problem," he added.
Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad arrived in Moscow on Tuesday on his first official visit outside the Middle East since last month's devastating earthquake.
This comes shortly after a Turkish diplomatic source revealed on Monday that a meeting that will involve Syria, Turkey, Russia, and Iran at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers is set to be held soon.