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    'Turkey Needs an Alliance With Russia, Iran' to Help Resolve Syrian Crisis

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    If Ankara wants to play a positive role in the Syrian settlement it needs to closely cooperate with Russia, Iran and the Syrian government against terrorists, independent Iranian expert Farzad Ramzani Bonesh told Sputnik.

    During his visit to Moscow, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Russia and Turkey share a common approach to the Syrian settlement.

    "Of course, now we [Russia and Turkey] have a better understanding of each other than we had ever before. As for the Syrian settlement, we have a common approach," Yildirim underscored.

    The prime minister also said that Ankara is recruiting maximum efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, including being a mediator between representatives of the Syrian political opposition and the Russian government.

    "Work in this direction is ongoing, of course. It is necessary to concentrate here on working out a decision and overcome the crisis. Turkey has made a very serious contribution and intends to continue it in the future to put an end to bloodshed in Syria," Yildirim added.

    Farzad Ramzani Bonesh, an independent Iranian expert on international and regional politics, said that Ankara’s willingness to cooperate with Russia is a positive sign.

    "Turkey could play a constructive role in the Syrian settlement if it focused on active cooperation with Russia and Iran, two countries carrying out anti-terrorist efforts jointly with the Syrian government. Ankara really needs an alliance with Moscow and Tehran," Bonesh told Sputnik Persian.

    The expert underscored that there is a set of reasons, domestic and foreign, that could push Turkey to amend its foreign policy agenda.

    "Domestic political tensions, economic difficulties and a crisis in ties with the West – probably, these factors could force Turkey to make a change to its policy on Syria and also make changes to Ankara’s stance on certain issues.  They could also strengthen Ankara’s cooperation with the European Union and other regional alliances and players," he suggested.

    According to Bonesh, the Turkish government should intensify efforts in cooperating with Syrian President Bashar Assad as well as Russia and Iran.

    "For example, Ankara should understand that withdrawal of militants from Aleppo is not a good idea. But if Turkey cuts off support for militants in Syria this would significantly contribute to stabilization in Syria," the expert said.

    However, according to Bonesh, so far Turkey has made no "strategic and practical steps" in order to stop the war in Syria.

    According to the expert, there are several factors complicating Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian settlement, including the length of the Turkish-Syrian border and the Kurdish problem.

    "Turkey’s role in the Syrian crisis has been negative. But it can become positive. Several years ago, Turkey supported the Syrian opposition, Syrian Turkmen and other groups, even terrorists ones. […] If Turkey wants to play a positive role in the Syrian settlement it should abandon direct and indirect support for the Syrian opposition, especially for radical groups," the expert concluded.

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    Tags:
    terrorism, military conflict, cooperation, Binali Yildirim, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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