According CNBC, Reuters and RT, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said “The facts on the ground have changed dramatically, so Turkey can no longer insist on a settlement without Assad, it’s not realistic.“
The office of Mehmet Şimşek has released a statement refuting the claims:
The answer given by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek to the question about Syrian issue in the panel “Syria and Iraq: Ending the Conflict” is extremely clear. Deputy Prime Minister has clearly stated that Assad is responsible for the tragedy in Syria, that internalizing a settlement is not possible, that the United States have not done what should have been done, that Russia and Iran has changed the situation on the ground, and from now on the most important issue is the ceasefire and protecting lives of the people.
In a video belongs the panel “Syria and Iraq: Ending the Conflict” in the World Economic Forum, the moderator asks that “…previously Turkey was of the sentiment that Mr. Bashar al Assad cannot be a part of the future in Syria. Is that still your position?”
Şimsek answers this question as follows; As far our position on Assad is concerned. We think that the suffering of Syrian people, and the tragedies clearly in a, the blame is squarely on Assad. But we have to be pragmatic, realistic. The facts on the ground have changed, dramatically, and the so Turkey can no longer insist on a settlement without Assad, and it is not realistic. We just have to work with what we have. That’s where Russia, Iran and Turkey, comes in a big fashion and the United States.
The statements quoted by the office of Şimşek can be found in the answer Şimşek gives to the question “Can you envision Syrian refugees going back to Syria, while Assad is power, or even feel safe for those displaced in their own country?” asked by the moderator.
I know this is tough. That is why, we have insisted for very long period of time, that any solution, has to be without the person who is responsible for these atrocities. But sadly that did not materialized And here we are. There are facts on the ground, reality. The United Stated did not do what should have done. Iran and Russia, has played, a very significant role in assuring sort of a longer reign of the current regime. And the so that’s why for the sake of you know a permanent ceasefire and process towards a settlement to put an end to the suffering of the people. I guess you just have to continue with realities, on the ground, that is what I am going to say. No, it is not something we can internalize, it is not something we are happy with it. It is not something refugees are happy with it. And something that is gonna make them extremely uncomfortable. But the question is, we have not been able to change the situation.
You can find the questions asked to Şimşek and the responses he has given to this questions here.