Astana talks meant to support peace efforts in Geneva: PM Yıldırım

Published 27.11.2017 00:00
Updated 27.11.2017 21:29
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EPA Photo

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Monday that the Astana talks are not a platform competing with the Geneva process but intend to support a peaceful political transition in Syria.

Speaking at a dinner organized by the British prime minister's trade envoy to Turkey, Yıldırım said the Astana talks are a preliminary preparation for the post-Syria talks in Geneva that will include all parties that are not afilliiated with terror groups.

Yıldırım also said Turkey is opposed to activities aimed at spreading sectarian influence in the region.

"Religion and sectarian issues can never be used as diplomatic tools to shape other countries," the prime minister said.

Earlier on Monday, Yıldırım affirmed that Turkey does not believe that the crisis in neighboring Syria could be resolved whilst regime leader Bashar Assad remained in power.

"The current regime is responsible for the way things have evolved in Syria ... I don't think it's a realistic prospect to build lasting peace in Syria with Assad (in place)," he said.

Speaking to reporters in London, Yıldırım also touched upon Turkey's European Union membership bid, saying the EU needs to revisit how far they will enlarge in the future and what Turkey's role will be in the bloc.

Yıldırım said the EU was "entirely confused" since Britain voted to leave the bloc.

Launched in 2005 after decades of seeking the formal start of an EU membership bid, Ankara's membership negotiations have long been sensitive for France and Germany because of Turkey's status as a large, mainly Muslim country.

Yıldırım is in the British capital to meet Prime Minister Theresa May, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

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