Assad’s representatives to attend Turkey’s main opposition’s Syria conference

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has invited representatives of Syrian President Bashar Assad government to an international conference it will organise on Sept. 28, the party’s vice chairman Ünal Çeviköz said in an interview with Duvar news site published on Friday.

Çeviköz said all political parties would be invited to the conference, which will host speakers from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. 

Those invited from Syria are representatives of the Assad government, who will express official position of the Syrian government, Duvar quoted the politician as saying. Çeviköz declined to give the names of the participants from Syria to prevent any problems in their visa applications and travel to Turkey. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) foreign policy has become unstable and lost its credibility, the politician said. “This has proved itself most clearly and concretely in Syria. We have found ourselves inside a swamp due to mistakes made in Syria,” he said. 

Cutting relations with the Assad government was the Turkish government’s biggest mistake since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Çeviköz told Duvar. 

Çeviköz said the CHP had decided to take the initiative as the AKP had obstructed discussions of foreign policy in parliament, and as it saw a foreign policy decided by one-man rule as undemocratic.

“We will make some calls and suggestions to the government and will present a guiding vision taking into account the issues to be brought up and the opinions to be expressed in this conference,” Çeviköz said. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been among the staunchest opponents of Assad since the Syrian president responded to mass protests with violent interventions in 2011, sparking the still ongoing conflict in the country.

Turkish-backed rebels have been facing an onslaught by Syrian government forces this year in Idlib, the last province held by the opposition.