No: 30, 30 January 2018, Press Release Regarding the Results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress hosted by the Russian Federation (RF) on 30 January 2018 in Sochi was followed by Turkey upon invitation as the guarantor of Syrian opposition.

Turkey has acted in a constructive manner about the RF’s Syrian National Dialogue Congress initiative from the beginning.

Our country underlined its readiness to support this initiative at the Sochi Summit on 22 November 2017 which was participated by President Erdoğan considering that the Congress may contribute to the Geneva process on condition that the UN’s participation is ensured and the credible opposition is given credit for its role in the political process.

Due to recent ceasefire violations on the ground as well as the unresolved concerns and uncertainties with regard to the Congress, the High Negotiations Committee and the Syrian National Coalition decided not to participate in the Congress. On the other hand, a delegation composed of some opposition members who travelled from Ankara to Sochi to attend the Congress did refuse to enter the country in reaction to the posters and logos that were put up at the Congress Center and the Airport, showing images of regime flags.

The most important outcome of the Congress was the call for the establishment of a Constitutional Committee and the selection of a pool of 150 candidates for this committee. The Turkish delegation, which was given the mandate to represent opposition groups that didn’t attend the Congress, submitted a list of 50 candidates in consultation with the opposition.

In the next stage, the UN Special Envoy is expected to establish a Constitutional Committee which will look out for the proportional representation of the opposition in line with the Geneva Process conducted up until today in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. While forming this Committee, the UN Special Envoy on Syria will be able to appoint names from the list of 150 candidates or outside the list. The establishment process of the Constitutional Committee will be closely monitored by Turkey as the guarantor of the opposition.

Turkey will continue to support, in all platforms, efforts for a political solution that will bring a real political change to Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

Turkey expects all actors that have leverage over the Syrian regime and on the ground to fulfill their responsibilities in directing the conflicting parties in Syria to negotiate a credible political solution.