Turkey aims to normalize their relations with Syria and Iraq, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday. He indicated that there are “not many reasons” for Turkey to fight against any of the countries in its region.
Both countries need to be stable for counter-terrorism efforts to succeed. Yildirim stressed the importance of boosting diplomatic ties in the region.
Turkey has long been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's staunchest opponents, arguing that only his departure could stabilize Syria. The stance set it at odds with Assad's ally Russia and distanced it from a U.S.-led coalition more focused on fighting Islamic State.
Since taking office in May, Yildirim has repeatedly said that Turkey needs to "increase its friends and decrease its enemies" - an apparent tacit admission that past policies have left Ankara sidelined.
"We normalized relations with Russia and Israel. I'm sure we will normalize relations with Syria as well. For the fight against terrorism to succeed stability needs to return to Syria and Iraq," he said.
Turkey last month announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel after a six-year rupture and expressed regret to Russia over the downing of a warplane, seeking to mend strained alliances. Officials have insisted those moves do not mark a broader foreign policy shift for Ankara.
Yildirim said Turkey's policy to normalize ties with countries neighboring the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea regions has produced concrete results so far.