Turkish and Syrian authorities expected to meet in Moscow for normalization talks

Various platforms, like the Geneva Process and the Astana Platform, have been founded to solve the crisis in Syria and re-establish the relations between Ankara and Damascus. As of 2022, the two countries have taken significant steps to reduce the tension with Russian and Iranian help. Recently, Tehran expressed interest in participating in the trilateral mechanism between Ankara, Damascus, and Moscow.

Between 2011 and 2022, Ankara and Damascus had no direct diplomatic or political ties. The relations had broken off after the civil war began in Syria.

In the last days of 2022, the Ministers for Defense and Intelligence of Syria and Türkiye met in Moscow in a meeting hosted by the Russian Defense Minister, finishing the 11-year drought in bilateral relations.

The first-in-a-decade meeting recorded advancements in the trilateral meeting process. The Ministers agreed to progress the talks to the Foreign Ministers' level.

The earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş on the 6th of February created a force majeure, forcing the authorities to post the next scheduled round of the peace talks.

During his Ankara visit on March 8th, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed Tehran’s will to participate in the trilateral mechanism, thus increasing the participant count to four.

His counterpart and host, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, conveyed that the Turkish side welcomed Iran into the mechanism, saying: “We, as the Turkish side, see no issues with this, as Iran also partakes with us in the Astana Platform, which is the only platform left for Syria.”

A meeting of Deputy Foreign Ministers was scheduled in Moscow on the 16th of March to determine the technical details of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

According to Reuters, the meeting was postponed without a specified date, grounding it on technical issues.


President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria met with Russian President Vladimir Putin this Wednesday. After the talks between the leaders, the Syrian President gave a speech to Russia’s Sputnik.

In his speech, Assad pointed to terms on meeting with President Erdoğan. He said, “Türkiye must show it is clearly and unambiguously ready to withdraw its troops from Syrian territory,” according to Sputnik International. Türkiye responded to this demand with a call to find common ground in eliminating terrorism to pull its military presence out of Syria.

According to Said Abdurrazık of Alsharq Alawsat, Assad’s requests “cast a shadow” on the talks, and Ankara ultimately proposed a second meeting between Defense Ministers before Foreign Ministers meet.

A different report on Alsharq Alawsat quotes the Syrian President as saying, “Why would we talk with President Erdoğan if it does not lead to ultimate results about the war in Syria?”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has shown significant interest in meeting with his Syrian counterpart, noting multiple times, “There is no place for bad feelings in politics.”

According to MFA’s website, Türkiye’s external policy is based on supporting the territorial integrity of Syria and bringing peace.

The leaders can overcome the problems in the Ankara-Damascus line. Through the mediation of Iran and Russia, who are close partners with Türkiye and Syria, progress in talks is expected.


Constructing peace and stability in the region will be better for everyone. In case a deal ensues, a lot can change in the area.

For starters, a deal between Syria and Türkiye requires Ankara to stop supporting the dissidents, which can help consolidate Assad’s authority, thus ending the war. This way, the US-supported terror organizations can find little to no ground in Syrian territory, which can plausibly force them to abandon their campaign.

The end of terror in Syria will point at many things, two of which carry high importance: Firstly, the deal means as peace follows in the territory, people who were forced out of their homes can return. Secondly, the United States can lose its proxies in the area, which may cause the US to give up on some of its hegemony over the region.

The US losing its sphere of influence over Syria also means it is leaving the ground for other actors. In this case, the countries that are more likely to fill the void after the US leaves are Russia and Iran, two countries the Pentagon identifies as a threat.

Mansur Ali Bilgiç - 20.04.2023