Syria is a sovereign state and not some leverage Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) can use in the coming 14 May elections, said Syrian legislator Ali Odeh al-Jadan on Sunday.
The politician said that the Damascus government had sent Turkey a memorandum detailing its conditions for continuing the Russian-brokered reconciliation negotiations between the neighbours.
Ankara last week announced that the deputy foreign ministers of Turkey and Syria would meet on Wednesday 15 March in Moscow, but the meeting did not take place.
According to al-Jadan, the fate of high-profile meetings at the level of foreign ministers depends on Ankara’s response to the memorandum, which Damascus has not received yet.
Al-Jadan listed “The withdrawal of all Turkish occupiers from territories in northwest Syria, the handing over of all those regions to Syrian Arab Military and the return of the Syrian government to lands occupied and controlled by Turkey through its militia,” as the main demands of Damascus is making of Ankara.
The 14 May elections will also seal the fate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP, al-Jadan said, adding that the Turkish government has been trying to gain time for its election targets.
“We are not some winning card the AKP can use, we are a sovereign state and we have occupied lands which should be given back to our control,” the politician said.
By engaging in reconciliation efforts with Damascus, the government in Ankara also aims to come up with a solution to the almost four million Syrians in Turkey, who have become one of the central issues in Turkish elections due to growing anti-refugee sentiments in the country.
The first high-level tripartite meeting between Turkey, Syria and Russia was held among the defence ministers and intelligence heads in Moscow in late December.