Erdogan Says He Plans To Invite Syria’s Assad to Turkey for Normalization Talks

The Assad government's position is that any deal to restore ties with Turkey must include a Turkish withdrawal from northern Syria

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he plans to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Turkey for talks on potentially restoring ties.

“We will extend our invitation (to Assad); with this invitation, we want to restore Turkey-Syria relations to the same level as in the past. Our invitation may be extended at any time,” the Turkish leader said, according to Reuters. “We have now arrived at a point where if Bashar Assad takes a step towards improving relations with Turkey, we will also show that approach towards him.”

Erdogan made similar comments a few days earlier and said he wants Russian President Vladimir Putin to join the talks. “If Mr. Putin can visit Turkey, this could be the beginning of a new process. All the years that have passed in Syria have clearly shown everyone that a permanent solution mechanism must be established,” he said on Friday.

Turkish and Syrian officials began holding Russian-mediated talks in December 2022. The step was significant since Turkey was a major supporter of the failed regime change effort against Assad and still occupies areas of northern Syria. Turkey also frequently conducts military operations against Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria, including the US-backed SDF.

The Assad government has been clear that any normalization deal with Turkey must involve a Turkish withdrawal from northern Syria. Turkey has said the requirement for a withdrawal is an end to the “YPG threat” in the country, referring to the primary military component of the SDF.

One potential solution would be for Syrian Arab troops to deploy to the areas currently controlled by Turkey and Turkish-backed militants instead of the SDF. But the US could get in the way of such an arrangement since it doesn’t want to give up its occupation of eastern Syria and opposes regional normalization with the Assad government.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.