31 January 2013
Spokesman Unal stressed too early to comment on possible dialogue with regime in Syria.
ANKARA -- A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said it was too early to make any assessments on possible talks between Assad regime and opposition forces before seeing how Damascus would respond to the offer by Syria's main opposition group.
"These talks are still hypothetical as to when and where they will be launched or conducted in what fashion. We first need to see the reaction of the Assad regime, which had rejected many proposals in the past," Selcuk Unal, the Turkish MFA's outgoing spokesman, told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday.
Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, leader of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, on Wednesday said that the coalition was ready to launch dialogue with the Syrian government but with certain conditions which included the release of 160,000 prisoners and the extension of passports held by Syrian citizens.
Unal reiterated that Turkey had recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, adding the coalition had opened a representation in Turkey.
Alleged Israeli strike
Responding to a question over an alleged Israeli air strike on a Syrian military research center in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday, Unal said no official report have arrived.
"But this is another example of how the situation in Syria got worse and complicated and morphed into a great threat against international peace," Unal said.
Responding to a question over Turkey's relations with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Unal said Turkey aimed at boosting ties with the SCO, adding that country favored an observer status within the organization.
Unal also issued a travel warning for Turkish nationals who might be travelling to Niger, citing security conditions following country's contribution to a multi-national African force that intervened in Mali under French leadership to root out armed groups in Mali's north.