WASHINGTON, DC – Global Justice and the Syrian diaspora do not agree with Turkey’s decision to meet with the Assad regime.
A troubling meeting occurred in Moscow on Wednesday between Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Ali Mahmoud Abbas — who was appointed Defense Minister by Assad in April — and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. News suggesting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may also meet with Bashar Al-Assad has caused grave concerns among the Syrian diaspora.
Turkey hosts the world’s largest Syrian refugee population. There are approximately 3.6 million Syrians living in Turkey today.
“We do not accept normalization with Assad,” said Global Justice Vice President Maissa Kabbani. “Legitimizing Assad by meeting with him will not entice the Syrian refugees to return to a country they no longer recognize,” Kabbani added, noting that “we understand that with upcoming elections, President Erdogan perhaps believes meeting with Assad will increase his position in the polls by enticing Syrian refugees in Turkey to return to Syria…However, Assad will not cede ground and the Syrian refugees will not seek a voluntary return to their war-ravaged country.”
Turkey broke off diplomatic ties with Syria in 2012, one year into the Syrian conflict, with Erdogan taking a global stand against Assad as one of the first world leaders to call for an end to his lethal reign in Syria. However, several world leaders have considered normalizing relations with Damascus.
The policy for the return of Syrian refugees to their home country has been a safe and voluntary return. This will only occur when there is a secure and safe environment in the country. This is what Global Justice is working toward.
Global Justice President Dr. Haytham Albizem said, “Global Justice’s various initiatives in Northern Syria are providing a sound economic and agricultural foundation for the Syrian people so they may voluntarily return to their homeland with a sense of stability, shelter, and the ability to provide for themselves and their families through tangible economic opportunities.”
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