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Ankara Winks at Assad through Kurdish Door: He Can Stay as a Transitional President | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish Prime Minister and the leader of Turkey’s ruling party Binali Yildirim speaks during the AK Party’s group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, on July 19, 2016.Adem Altan/AFP

Ankara, Beirut- Turkey announced, for the first time, that it would temporarily accept president of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad, but said he would not have a place in the future of Syria.

Speaking to foreign media representatives in Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said: “Whether we want it or not, Assad is one of the actors [in Syria,]” adding that Assad could have a role in the interim leadership, however, he must play no part in its future.

Yildirim said Turkey would cooperate with Russia, Iran and other concerned states to find a solution to the Syrian crisis in the coming six months.

Ankara winked yesterday at Assad’s regime from the door of Kurds, which Turkey considers a threat to its regime and to Syria.

Yildirim said Ankara would not let Syria be divided along ethnic and sectarian lines.

Speaking about Syrian forces raids against Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units in Hasaka, the prime minister said: “Damascus has started to realize the threats constituted by Kurds.”

On Saturday, Syrian jets continued raiding YPG fighters in the divided Hasaka, although Washington has dispatched jets to protect the region.

Hasaka is divided into zones of Kurdish and Syrian government control. It is the first time the Syrian regime uses its military jets to attack Kurdish groups since the start of the war, and the second violent confrontation between the Kurdish YPG units and regime forces this year.

Ankara fears that the expansion of Kurdish armed groups in Syria could encourage the Kurdistan Workers Party to seek a split attempt in southeast Turkey.

On Saturday, regime forces also raided areas in Aleppo, on the eve of Moscow’s announcement of a 48-hour ceasefire next week.

However, Syria’s opposition does not expect much from the ceasefire. Syrian opposition sources told Asharq Al-Awsat the ceasefire “would constitute a chance for the regime to catch its breath in Aleppo.”

Meanwhile, Turkish security forces detained on Saturday Ambassador Gurcan Balik, who served as the chief advisor to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during the latter’s time as foreign minister.

Balik served as the chief foreign policy advisor to then-President Abdullah Gul in August 2013.

Several observes link the detention of Balik with the comments made Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus who last week described Ankara’s Syria policy as “a source of many sufferings for Turkey today.”