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ANKARA, February 8. /TASS/. The intra-Syrian talks in Astana proved successful and showed the world that there was a basis for dialogue between the opposing parties, Deputy Chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party Mehmet Mehdi Eker said in an interview with TASS on Wednesday.
"The Astana talks proved to be unprecedentedly successful. This is both Turkey and Russia’s success because if not for our countries, these talks would not have taken place," he stressed. "Thanks to the Astana talks, the world has come to see that opposing sides can sit together at the negotiating table and talk," he added. Eker also said that "the sides that are used to stare at each other through scopes came together in Astana."
"The Astana talks marked the first step in settling the Syrian crisis. Close cooperation between Turkey and Russia resulted in a ceasefire established in Aleppo. The Geneva talks on Syria will take place later this month. We continue to work so that positive effect could be felt there as well," Eker added.
When asked if the Astana talks could become an alternative to the Geneva negotiations, he noted that "it will become clear later, when the sides make their assessments and begin to implement agreements." "The matter is that real players, including Turkey, Russia, Iran, Syria and the United Nations gathered in Astana, while the Geneva platform is broader, other global players are participating in the Geneva process. If Astana talks result in a compromise, then the parties won’t need another platform," the deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party concluded.
"Russia has become a major power in our region. This is a reality. It is a world actor, and it has its own interests in and influence on the region. We are concerned about our security (due to terrorist threats - TASS) but we also seek to achieve stability in the region. This is an issue that should be addressed together with Russia through diplomacy and efforts to find a solution that would be suitable for both countries," Eker said.
He stated that Ankara’s attitude to regional cooperation with Moscow remained unchanged.
"Cooperation between Turkey and Russia and joint efforts in the Middle East, in our region will make a contribution to the settlement of outstanding problems. At least our countries have achieved a fundamental agreement and held talks in Astana by bringing all parties together. Iran’s important role in that process is noteworthy," he said.
About the situation in Syria Eker said it was an internal affair of the Syrian people and it was up to them to make a decision.
"This is precisely why both government representatives and the opposition gathered at the negotiating table in Astana. If a solution fails to be achieved, then international intervention may emerge on the agenda. The crisis may stop to be just an internal issue to grow into a regional and even world one to harm world stability, security, trade and the world economy respectively," Eker said.
The humanitarian situation in Syria is "very serious and millions of people suffer," he remarked.
"This problem must be resolved by diplomatic means. In this respect the joint stance taken by Turkey and Russia and the implementation of joint plans along these lines is of critical importance. This is a chance for our countries," Eker stated.