New statements by Erdoğan about the relationship and reconciliation with the Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that his country is preparing housing construction projects in Syria for the return of nearly a million refugees to their country.

This came in an interview with CNN International, in which he answered journalist Becky Anderson’s questions regarding several issues, including elections and foreign policy.

Commenting on the Turkish opposition’s pledge to return the Syrians in Türkiye to their country if it came to power, he stressed that he couldn’t share this opinion.

Erdoğan added, “Let me tell you, until now, NGOs in Türkiye have seriously built houses in northern Syria, so why are they building these houses? They are building it for refugees in Türkiye in order for them to return to their lands, to their homeland, and this stage has begun”.

The Turkish president said, “We’ve prepared housing construction projects in Syria for the return of nearly a million refugees, and we will ensure the return of the refugees to their countries”.

Erdoğan replied to a question, regarding in case of his being re-elected, at least one million refugees will return voluntarily in a certain period, Erdoğan replied, “Maybe it will be more than that, because the infrastructure investments we are making there now are in a position to absorb more than that”.

He pointed out that the policy of the Turkish opposition to pledge to return the Syrians to their country in the event of reaching power won’t work in Türkiye, adding “Because there are people of high quality among these refugees; Where there are doctors, engineers, lawyers and nurses… It’s not possible to follow a policy like ‘I will expel them and send them to their lands… ‘First, they (the opposition) should accept a human-oriented way of life and management”.

In addition, responding to a question, regarding the restoration of relations with the Syrian president Bashar al Assad, Erdoğan replied, “I had some statements on this subject… We previously had a relationship with the Assad family… We used to meet at the family level… We used to be at such a level… Unfortunately, due to some subsequent developments, there was a break in our close relations… This break also saddened us”.

He added, “We recently said that we can open this door because of my friendship with Mr. Putin… The whole point is that we should be in solidarity regarding the issue of combating terrorism in northern Syria, and if we can achieve this, we do not see any obstacles to our reconciliation”.

Commenting on Assad’s statements months ago, in which he said, “If Türkiye withdraws its forces from northern Syria, I will meet him (Erdoğan),” the Turkish president replied, “We’ve borders with Syria that are more than 900 kilometers long, and there is a constant threat from terrorism”.

He continues, “crossing these borders towards my country, and if we maintain the presence of our forces there, the only reason is to fight terrorism”.

Regarding the request of the Syrian President for the withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from Syria, Erdoğan said, “We don’t think about that because the terrorist threat continues”.

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