By Selen Temizer and Sena Guler
Leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran reiterated their support for Syria's territorial integrity during a summit in the Russian city of Sochi on Wednesday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani met in the Russian Black Sea resort for the summit and gave messages highlighting the need for a political solution and territorial integrity of Syria.
In a joint statement at the summit, three guarantor countries declared that they would continue to cooperate for the sake of reducing violence in Syria.
In the statement, the three presidents also emphasized on their strong commitment to supporting the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
The guarantor countries also pointed out the need for confidence-building measures in order to speed up the search for political solutions in Syria.
The measures were listed as fast, secure and continuos humanitarian aid; release of detainees and identification of missing persons.
Measures against PKK/PYD
In the joint statement, they also agreed to hold the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which will be attended by the Assad regime and the opposition.
The opposition groups who attend the congress would be “the ones that respect Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-divisible character”.
By this description,Turkey's resolute position against the terrorist organization, PKK/PYD, has been reflected.
Opposition groups that will be invited to the congress will be decided by the three countries.
President Erdogan said: “Exclusion of terrorist elements -- that target both Syrian political union and territorial integrity and our country -- from the process, will be among Turkey's priorities.”
Ankara reiterated there is no difference between the PKK, YPG and PYD terrorist organizations.
He also warned that Turkey cannot share a platform with any terrorist organization that poses a threat to its national security.
Erdogan referred to the Geneva talks under the auspices of the UN, and said the National Dialogue Congress would contribute to the Geneva process.
About the conditions for achievement, he said that besides the attitudes of the regime and the opposition, the three guarantor countries would play a critical role in maintaining "respect and understanding of mutual sensitivity".
The Russian president pointed out that the summit was a means to strengthen the territorial integrity of Syria.
Vladimir Putin said the Astana process prevents the division of Syria and moves the country towards a "new phase of political solution", with the cooperation of Turkey and Iran.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Turkish and Iranian leaders for welcoming the idea of holding the Syrian National Dialogue Congress regarding the solution of the Syrian crisis.
Putin added the countries had given necessary instructions about the congress’ date and structure.
"We are pleased to see that the three countries have agreed on Syria's territorial integrity, independence and unity, and we are in close cooperation to ensure peace and stability in Syria,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
Recalling that the meeting in Sochi constitutes an important step for ending the Syria crisis, Rouhani noted that the solution can be achieved through joint political work, referring to the Astana process launched in January.
"There is no reason for any foreign forces to be present in the country without the consent of the legitimate government of Syria,” Rouhani said.