Turkey, Politics, Middle East

'Don't let people die' Erdogan tells Tehran summit

Trilateral summit on Syria by Turkish, Russian, Iranian leaders held in Tehran

'Don't let people die' Erdogan tells Tehran summit President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint press conference held with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (not seen) and President of Russia Vladimir Putin (not seen) after a trilateral summit between Turkey, Iran and Russia on September 7, 2018 in Tehran, Iran. ( Cem Öksüz - Anadolu Agency )

By Diyar Guldogan


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called for end to deaths in Syria at the trilateral summit in the Iranian capital Tehran.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani, Erdogan said it is important to end bombardments in Syria's Idlib and ensure cease-fire.

"If we can declare a cease-fire here, it will be one of the most important steps of the summit, and it will relieve the civilians," Erdogan said at a joint news conference along with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani.

Erdogan said Idlib is not only important for Syria's political future, but also "vital" for Turkey's national security and regional peace and stability. 

"We never want Idlib to turn into a blood bath. We expect you to support us in our efforts," he added.

Turkey cannot leave Idlib to the mercy of Bashar al-Assad regime, he said. 

"Turkey is resolute to maintain its presence in the region until Syria's political, geographical and social integrity is ensured," Erdogan said.

The president called for common stance against any kind of terrorism in Syria, including PYD/YPG, that threatens Syria's territorial integrity. 

Calling on the guarantor countries to not let a new wave of violence in Syria, Erdogan said he hoped the results of trilateral summit will contribute to peace in the country.

Erdogan added it is "vital" to protect civilians in the region, separate terrorist elements and ensure current status of Idlib.

"Turkey has 12 observation points in Idlib. Through this way, we take important responsibility for the continuation of tranquility in the region," he said. 

‘New catastrophes’

The president said Turkey has been making efforts to help end bloodshed in Syria since the beginning and that his country does not want any Syrian brother to even suffer a "nose bleed".

"We do not want people of Idlib, who have suffered a lot, to be exposed to new catastrophes," he added.

Erdogan said representatives of three guarantor states will gather in Geneva with UN special envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura in the upcoming days.

Noting that Turkey hosts 3.5 million refugees, he said: "Idlib's population is now 3.5 million. We do not have power and facilities to host another 3.5 million."

Erdogan also voiced concern over the U.S. support of YPG/PKK, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group. 

"We are extremely disturbed that the U.S. continues to strengthen another terrorist organization in the region [even after] there was no Daesh threat and danger in the region."

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 deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

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