Turkey, Russia, Germany and France to meet in Istanbul over Syria's future

Turkey, Russia, Germany and France will meet in Istanbul in October to engage in a political solution to the 7-year war in Syria, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday on his way back from a three-day official visit to Germany, pro-government Sabah reported.

Considering the quartet meeting  between European countries and Turkey, Erdoğan said the quartet summit decision "was significant and an important step."

During the Germany visit, Erdoğan and Chancellor Merkel discussed the situation in Syria, including the recent developments in northwestern Idlib province. "We favour a four-way meeting including Germany, France, Russia and Turkey because the situation is still fragile," Merkel said in the press conference with Erdogan on Friday. 

Turkey has played a decisive role in Syria's Idlib province, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sept. 10 after Turkey and Russia announced that their troops would enforce a new demilitarised zone in Idlib.

"We have also seen that Turkey has played an extraordinarily positive role regarding discussions in Syria and Idlib - ultimately Turkey managed to agree with Russia on a demilitarised zone, and that's extremely important," Maas said at a news conference in Berlin.

"German officials appreciate the results reached in Idlib," Erdoğan said,  "Our aim is to carry the process to an even more positive stage." 

Multiple foreign powers have participated in Syria's complicated and destructive civil war has drawn since it broke out in 2011. In the 7-year war, more than 400,000 Syrians have died while 11 million have been forced to flee their homes. 

Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart announced the agreement to create a demilitarised zone from which "radical" rebels must withdraw by the middle of October. The agreement halted a Syrian government offensive in Idlib. The United Nations had warned such an attack would create a humanitarian catastrophe in the Idlib region, home to about 3 million people. Meanwhile, Syria's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Walid al-Mouallem, told the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 29 that the U.S., Turkish and French forces in Syria were considered "occupying forces," and Turkey to leave the country immediately.