Turkey planning summit with France, Germany, Russia

Turkey planning summit with France, Germany, Russia
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is seeking to hold a summit in Istanbul with France, Germany and Russia on 7 September to discuss regional issues including the Syrian conflict.

3 min read
29 July, 2018
Erodgan said the summit will be held on September 7 [Getty]

Turkey is seeking to hold a summit in Istanbul with FranceGermany and Russia on 7 September to discuss regional issues including the Syrian conflict, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in comments published on Sunday.

"We will discuss what we can do in the region together," Erdogan said, quoted by Hurriyet daily.

He gave no further details on the issues on the agenda but said Turkey would continue dialogue with Russia, "outside of this foursome", in the remarks made to Turkish journalists during his South Africa visit on 25-27 July.

Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit on the sidelines of the Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa summit of leading emerging economies in Johannesburg, known as BRICS.

"We will separately have a summit in Istanbul on 7 September with RussiaGermanyFrance and Turkey", Erdogan was quoted as saying.

There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow, Paris or Berlin.

In April, Erdogan held a summit with Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Ankara.

The three leaders are due to meet again in the near future in Tehran, Erdogan said without giving an exact date, while technical talks as part of the Astana process will take place on Monday and Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russia.

The seven-year conflict in Syria is likely to be high on the four countries' agenda as Russia, Iran and Turkey continue their efforts to end the war under the Astana peace process launched last year despite being on opposing sides.

While Moscow and Tehran support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, Ankara has repeatedly called for his ouster and helped Syrian rebels.

On Saturday, the political arm of the Kurdish majority and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that an agreement had been reached with Syrian regime officials in Damascus to "create a road map leading to a decentralised democratic Syrian state".

It signalled a potentially momentous breakthrough in the resolution of the seven-year-long war.

Officials belonging to the Kurdish-dominated SDF - which holds large swathes of land in northern Syria - travelled to Damascus on Thursday for two days' of talks with the Assad regime over the future of the autonomous regions it set up in northern and northeastern Syria.

"At the invitation of the Syrian government, a meeting was held between a delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council [the SDF political arm] and the Syrian government in Damascus on 26 July 2018," the SDF council said in  a statement published on its website on Saturday.

It went on to say that the delegations agreed to form committees that would hold further negotiations in order to "end the violence and war that plagues the Syrian people", as well as to "create a road map leading to a decentralised democratic Syrian state".

Syrian state media has yet to report any agreement with the SDF. 

Most of Syria is under the control of either President Bashar al-Assad's forces or the Kurdish-dominated SDF, after a series of Russian-backed victories in recent months saw Damascus retake much of the south.