Turkey and Russia have a joint will to clear all terrorist groups from Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said in Moscow on Saturday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu is in the Russian capital for talks on Syria between top Turkish and Russian officials.
“We will continue close cooperation with Russia and Iran on Syria and regional issues,” Cavusoglu stated, adding that Turkey and Russia — as guarantors of the Astana peace process — are defending Syria’s territorial integrity and political unity from all efforts to harm them.
In addition to Cavusoglu, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin arrived on Saturday for the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, and presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.
Before the meeting, Cavusoglu said that they came to Russia to hold talks about the latest developments in Syria, and that Turkey, Russia, and Iran have close cooperation about Syria in the Astana format.
“Thus we’ve made important progress in many fields on the political process,” Cavusoglu said.
“With our Russian partners, we will discuss what we can do in Syria. Especially our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent us as he puts great emphasis on our relations with Russia on regional topics,” he added.
“We will have the opportunity to discuss once again the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone and in the demilitarized zone,” said Shoygu, referring to zones set up this September to protect the people of the northwestern city of Idlib.
“In addition, we will talk about implementation of the agreements that we reached in Istanbul, the work done after that, as well as everything related to the Eastern Euphrates,” he added, referring to an expected Turkish counter-terrorism operation in Syria targeting the YPG/PKK.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.