Turkey’s Foreign Minister has called on Syria to resolve its internal problems before any further dialog on security issues with Ankara is considered.
“The Syrian authorities first need to establish dialog with their own people,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told journalists on Sunday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on October 10 said that direct dialog between the two countries was vital in order for Turkey-Syria relations to improve. On Saturday the Syrian Foreign Ministry published a statement welcoming the Russian initiative.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister however wrote this off as “worthless,” stressing that “Syria’s statement means nothing to us.”
On Saturday, Syria announced that its airspace was now closed to Turkish passenger planes, a decision it took after Turkey grounded a Syrian plane flying from Moscow to Damascus, on suspicion that it was carrying military cargo. On Sunday, Turkey issued a similar ban regarding Syrian planes.
Tensions between Damascus and Ankara escalated in October after an artillery shell fired in Syria landed in a Turkish border village killing five.
In response, Turkey’s parliament authorized the government to launch cross-border military operations as a deterrent against potential attacks from Syria.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down accusing him of murdering his own people. The Syrian authorities, in return, have accused Turkey of arming and funding Syrian rebels.