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Turkey would consider working with Assad if he won ‘credible’ election – FM

Turkey would consider working with Assad if he won ‘credible’ election – FM
Turkey would possibly work with Syrian President Bashar Assad if he won a “credible” democratic election, the country’s foreign minister said, adding that “everybody” should consider doing the same.

“If it is a democratic election, and if it is a credible one, then everybody should consider [working with him],” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu declared, when asked at a conference in Qatar on Sunday whether Ankara would work with Assad.

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The comment is also a U-turn from when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to Assad as a terrorist last year, stating then that it was impossible for Syrian peace efforts to continue with him. Turkey has supported the opposition against Assad since the country's civil war broke out in 2011 and its troops are currently in the northeast of the country fighting Kurdish groups that Ankara considers terrorists.

Turkey did agree with Russia, Germany and France in October that a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process that is facilitated by the UN is the best route for the war-torn country. 

Assad won re-election in 2014, securing 88.7 percent of the votes, with the opposition quick to criticize the elections, stating that the leader had no credible rival candidate.

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