‘‘The Idlib issue is as important as Afrin and the Peace Spring region’’

‘‘The Idlib issue is as important as Afrin and the Peace Spring region’’

President Erdoğan said on Saturday that he will meet with the leaders of Russia, Germany and France on March 5 to discuss the recent situation in Syria and Libya.

Referring to Friday's phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Syria, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “The Idlib issue is as important as Afrin and the Peace Spring region. We will meet again on March 5 to discuss the same issues.”

Erdoğan's remarks came during his visit to the western Turkish province of Izmir where he attended several opening ceremonies and held speeches.

He underlined that Turkey's operations brought peace to the areas that were held by the [YPG/] PKK terrorist group for a while, and Turkey aims to establish the same peaceful environment in Idlib.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot. 

"Hopefully, we will achieve the most relevant result that works best for the interests of our country and our Syrian brothers in this matter," he added.

During his visit, he also stressed that Turkey's policies on Syria and Libya are "neither an adventure nor an arbitrary choice."

“If Turkey avoids struggling in Syria, Libya, the Mediterranean and generally in the region, those would return to the country with a heavier toll in the future,” he said.

Stressing the power changes in the region, Erdoğan underlined the importance of locating Turkey in a right position, and said that the country has been fighting for a new war of liberation as a country and nation.

“Sometimes, the interests of our country and other powers conflict in this struggle. […] Turkey has enough power and capacity to pursue an independent policy and implement this on the ground,” he said.

Referring to Turkey's strategy in the region, Erdoğan said that after phone calls with Putin, Macron, and Merkel on Friday, a roadmap was drawn.

In a phone conversation on Friday, Erdoğan told Putin that the Assad regime must show restraint and the humanitarian crisis must end in Idlib. 

He added that resolving the crisis unfolding in Idlib hinges on full implementation of the 2018 Sochi Memorandum.

Both leaders reiterated their commitment to all agreements reached concerning Syria.

In the phone call with Macron and Merkel, Erdoğan also said the aggression by the Syrian regime and its supporters in Idlib should come to an end. 

Idlib, near Turkey's southern border, falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018.

The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the territory where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to about 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

Some 1 million Idlib refugees have moved towards the Turkish border in recent months, fleeing attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and causing a desperate humanitarian situation.

Turkey has called for an immediate halt to the attacks on Idlib, and for the cease-fire to be followed, warning that if the attacks do not stop, Turkey will take action.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/erdogan-to-meet-putin-merkel-macron-in-march/1741776