ANKARA, February 13. /TASS/. The intra-Syrian talks that were held in Kazakhstan’s Astana in late January were a milestone event in the Syrian settlement, Turkish President Recep Tyyip Erdogan said on Monday.
"The most desirable solution is settling the conflict by diplomatic means, without the use of military options. From the very beginning, we have been calling on [Syrian President] Bashar Assad to solve the problem peacefully. But the regime opted to use weapons and we said back then that it was extremely wrong," said Erdogan, who arrived on a visit to Bahrain.
According to the Turkish leader, that was the reason why Ankara severed relations with Damascus.
He stressed the importance of the Astana talks for the entire process of the Syrian settlement. "Astana was one of the major steps towards resolution of this crisis. Yes, these were not top-level talks. They involved representatives of Turkey, Russia, Iran, the opposition, but at a maximum high level of foreign ministers," he reminded.
Mentioning the forthcoming intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Erdogan said he would like to see a higher level of representation of the parties. "It is a broader platform. Participants in the Astana talks and representatives from other states, including regional powers, will take part in them. We would like the talks to be held at a higher level," he said.