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    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Ankara rejects the possibility of Assad staying in power beyond a transition period.

    President Vladimir Putin meeting with Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, January 18, 2016.
    © Sputnik / Alexei Nikolsky
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkey is entitled to play a central role in resolving the Syrian crisis due to the country's massive Syrian refugee population, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday, media reports suggested Tuesday.

    "[Turkey is the] second largest Syrian country in the world… No country has more to say on these peace talks than Turkey because 2.5 million Syrians are in Turkey," Davutoglu said during a meeting with his UK counterpart David Cameron in London, The Guardian newspaper reported.

    The Turkish prime minister is currently on a three-day visit to London ahead of the January 25 opening of the UN-led talks between Syrian government and opposition representatives in Geneva.

    Davutoglu also spoke against Kurdish representation at the upcoming talks, insisting that Rojava's Democratic Union Party (PYD) has been cooperating with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    The prime minister also rejected the possibility of Assad staying in power beyond a transition period. "It is for us now a domestic issue if there is no well-established peace in Syria. If Assad is sitting there in Damascus, no Syrian will go back," Davutoglu said.

    The International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which includes both Russia and the United States, resolved in November to engage the parties to the Syrian conflict in formal peace talks. Mediators agreed on a six-month timeframe for Syria to form an interim unity government with an election to be held within 18 months.

    Syria has been locked in an armed conflict since 2011. The government of Assad is fighting against several Islamist groups, as well as a number of opposition forces. Over 4.5 million Syrian refugees are registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), over 2.5 million of whom were in Turkey at the end of 2015.


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    Intra-Syria talks, Syrian crisis, International Syria Support Group (ISSG), Ahmet Davutoglu, Syria, Turkey
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