Syria Reconciliation Process Likely Postponed Until after Turkey's Elections
18 Mar 2023 10:45
Islam Times - The planned meeting between Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Syria has been canceled for technical reasons, Turkish media reported.
The Russian Foreign Ministry told Vedomosti that it had not approved the meeting, which was scheduled to involve deputy foreign ministers.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov expressed hope that the meeting could be rescheduled within a week, TASS reported.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced plans to hold consultations in Moscow after talks with his Iranian counterpart.
Although Ankara and Damascus have not abandoned their plans to normalize relations, they have taken a break, according to Amur Gadzhiyev, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies.
Gadzhiyev noted that the two countries had increased their ties in humanitarian and relief operations following recent earthquakes. However, given the upcoming Turkish elections and the uncertainty surrounding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's re-election chances, it is assumed that the parties have taken a break to develop new mechanisms for interaction, particularly as Erdogan's statements were seen as key to the reconciliation process.
Andrey Zeltyn, a Senior Lecturer at the Higher School of Economics’ School of Asian Studies, commented that now is not the right time for either Turkey or Syria to consider normalizing relations.
With Turkey in the midst of election fever and Erdogan's re-election chances looking bleak, Zeltyn believes that communication with Damascus will only continue if Erdogan wins the vote.
If the opposition, which is oriented towards the West and NATO, wins, the format of talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad will change dramatically.
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