As the Turkish military is stepping up its presence in northwestern Syria, Turkey’s Parliament speaker said Saturday that Ankara and Moscow are working in close coordination on Syria.
“Multifaceted cooperation with Russia is one of the key elements of our foreign policy. We are in close coordination on Syria as well,” Ismail Kahraman told a news conference in St. Petersburg after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vyaceslav Volodin.
Kahraman was in the city as part of the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly.
He added that establishing a close dialogue between parliamentary groups would also help bilateral relations.
Volodin, for his part, said, “Turkey is one of Russia’s most important business partners. We would like to further improve our economic relations.”
At the assembly's opening ceremony, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the international community to consider the reconstruction of Syria after the civil war, saying, “Regional countries have to take an effective role on this issue.”
On steps taken in Astana, Kazakhstan, he said, “Thanks to these measures, an initiative to free Syria from terrorism has been launched by securing its territorial integrity.”
He underlined that Russia would maintain its fight against terrorism through concrete collaboration.
Attending the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) as a term president for the first time, Kahraman said in his address at Tauride Palace that Turkey always places great importance on cooperation with its Asian partners.
APA's 10th assembly meeting is set to take place between Nov. 20 and 25 in Istanbul.
In line with agreements reached at peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, Turkish troops are tasked with monitoring a cease-fire and establishing a series of observation posts along the line between the Syrian areas of Idlib and Afrin.
On Thursday night, Turkish military convoys entered northern Idlib after being dispatched from Reyhanli in Turkey’s southeastern Hatay province.
Turkish troops were initially deployed near Afrin, which is situated along the Turkish border and is currently being held by the PKK/PYD terrorist group.
The deployments are in line with earlier agreements reached in Astana by the three guarantor states: Turkey, Russia and Iran.
During the deployment, which is expected to gradually expand southward, Turkish troops hope to set up more than 10 observation posts in Idlib.
While the Turkish military has been tasked with establishing observation posts in central Idlib, Russia has been tasked with doing the same in outlying areas.