"Erdogan has Ottoman ambitions in the Arab world. And he and [Turkish Prime Minister] Ahmet Davutoglu were pursuing these ambitions. And I think their inability to achieve anything in Syria was a very decisive factor in stopping them from these ambitions," Shaaban said on the sidelines of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Moscow.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with the country’s government fighting numerous opposition factions and jihadist groups. During the conflict, Ankara has been supporting the Syrian opposition which aims to displace President Bashar Assad.
The Ottoman Empire preceded modern Turkey. It encompassed most of current Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, among other territories.