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  3. We have decided to enable the Committee to begin its works as soon as possible: Erdoğan
We have decided to enable the Committee to begin its works as soon as possible: Erdoğan

We have decided to enable the Committee to begin its works as soon as possible: Erdoğan

During a joint press conference after the tripartite summit, President Erdoğan said the difficulties in forming a Constitutional Committee in Syria has been resolved.

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After the trilateral summit, Erdoğan, Rouhani, and Putin issued a joint press release.

In his speech here, President Erdoğan said they met for the fifth time today to put out the fire in Syria, along with Rouhani and Putin and discussed Syria in all its dimensions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a joint press conference with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran following the Trilateral Summit on Syria held at Çankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara.

President Erdoğan expressed his belief that the meetings held as part of the Summit were productive in all aspects.

"During the Summit, we have taken important decisions that will raise hopes for a political solution in Syria. We have reaffirmed that we all share the same sensitivity on the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity and political unity. We have underscored that supporting terrorist organizations under the pretext of combatting DAESH is unacceptable," he noted.

President Erdoğan pointed out that the escalating tensions in Idlib were one of the topics focused on during the talks, and that the number of the civilians who have lost their lives during ground and air operations carried out in Idlib since April has approximated one thousand.

"As Turkey, we cannot be a mere onlooker to the occurrence of a new tragedy that will affect four million people right beside our borders. Such a grave development will have impacts not only on our country but entire Europe," he said.

Underscoring that the establishment of the Constitutional Committee was one of the issues addressed during the talks, President Erdoğan added: "We have decided to enable the Committee to begin its works as soon as possible by finalizing the rules of procedure in coordination with the United Nations."

Stating that they also discussed the situation east of the Euphrates during the talks, President Erdoğan said that this issue is of paramount importance in terms of not only Syria’s political unity and territorial integrity but also of Turkey’s national security.

"At this point, there is no longer a DAESH threat in Syria. The biggest threat to Syria’s future is the PKK and its extension PYD/YPG. So long as the PKK/PYD continues to exist therein, neither Syria nor our region can find peace."

Highlighting that Turkey will not allow a terror corridor along its borders with Syria, President Erdoğan went on to say: "Our ultimate goal is to prevent Syria from being divided by establishing a peace corridor in the north. I have told both of our friends that to that end, we will start to implement our own operation plan unless we reach a desired solution with the U.S. in two weeks."

Erdoğan noted that he has been stressing, since the onset of the crisis, the need to address the migration issue within the boundaries of Syria. "

It is evident that Turkey cannot shoulder the refugee burden on its own. Nor is it possible for our country to face a new migration wave. Now it is time for us to focus on the safe and voluntary return of Syrians to their own country," he said.

Pointing out that a peace corridor east of the Euphrates would serve as a safe harbor for refugees, President Erdoğan said 2 million Syrians currently taking refuge in Turkey can be resettled in this area and that this figure might exceed even 3 million if this line can be extended all the way to Deir Ez-Zor and Raqqa.

New residential areas can be constructed in this zone with the support of the international community for the Syrians that would return, stated President Erdoğan.

"We want to work with Russia and Iran as well as with other members of the international community for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees.

We have lately taken an important step in this regard. We have launched an initiative with Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan in a bid to hold an international conference regarding the return of Syrian refugees. We expect all our friends to support this initiative."

Expressing his wish for the Ankara Summit to contribute to the establishment of peace, security, and stability in Syria, President Erdoğan thanked President Rouhani of Iran for his willingness to host the next summit meeting.

President Rouhani of Iran: "We respect Syria's territorial integrity"

President Rouhani of Iran, for his part, said the three countries are in agreement in nearly all issues concerning Syria, and that they also share the same view on Syria’s territorial integrity and unitary structure, adding: "We all respect Syria’s territorial integrity."

President Putin of Russia: "We stand ready to take every step in order to prevent any harm to civilians"

President Putin of Russia, for his part, said that the three countries have agreed on additional steps that will help to defuse tensions in Idlib.

"However, we will provide support to the Syrian military in limited operations especially to eradicate the terror threat. Because our agreements do not encompass terrorist organizations. Yet, we stand ready to take every step in order to prevent any harm to civilians," he added.

Following their remarks, the three leaders answered reporters' questions.

"Yemen has been razed to the ground"

In answer to a question about the attacks against the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, President Erdoğan said: "First we should consider how the process in Yemen begun. And Yemen has been razed to the ground. We should consider who is responsible for Yemen’s destruction. As a consequence of the devastation there, people in Yemen surely have been making certain preparations. We do not desire such developments. However, at this point, we must consider what we can do for the reconstruction and development of Yemen because Yemen does not have an infrastructure that can support it to get back on its feet."

"In addition to Yemen, the same thing goes for Syria and other countries in the region including Palestine. The situation in Palestine is catastrophic. However, unfortunately, Muslims are at odds with each other. Just now, Mr. Putin wanted to remind us of a warning from our Lord. Let me briefly state it by saying believers are brothers. This is not the supposed outcome of brotherhood. However, who first dropped bombs on Yemen? If the answer to that question can be found, I believe we will reach the conclusion that the current point is a provocation."

Safe Zone

With regard to the planned safe zone, President Erdoğan noted that he spoke with leaders of Germany, France, and Saudi Arabia about the works to be done inside the zone and stated that an international campaign could be launched for Syrian refugees to migrate to the safe zone. President Erdoğan also highlighted the importance of providing aerial protection for the safe zone.

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