The Assad regime in neighboring Syria is illegitimate and far from promising any future for the country, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Monday evening, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Following a Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex in Ankara, İbrahim Kalın said, “Turkish intelligence departments may sometimes have contacts with various regime elements in al-Hasakah and Qamishli, including the Damascus [government], in the framework of Turkey’s security and the overall safety of Turkish operations in Syria.”
But he added, “This does not mean that Turkey recognizes the legitimacy of the [Syrian] regime.”
Mentioning the Astana and Geneva peace talks on Syria, Kalın also vowed to continue efforts to provide safety and stability in Syria with respect for the country’s territorial integrity.
Kalın’s remarks came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that Turkey has maintained low-level contact with the Syrian government.
“Foreign policy with Syria continues at a lower level,” he told broadcaster TRT in an interview, adding that the intelligence services operated differently from political leaders.
“Leaders may be cut out. But intelligence units can communicate for their interests,” Erdoğan said. “Even if you have an enemy, you should not break the ties. You may need them later.”