''We can never forget the stance of the Turkish Parliament rejecting to allow the aggression against Iraq from the Turkish territories and airspace; such a stance has reflected the clear stance of the Turkish People, manifested through their anti-war demonstrations. Further, we would never ever forget the Turkish Government stance on the crime of the aggression against Gaza, and the grand rally of Istanbul deploring the massacres perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians. In return, the Arab People have responded to these honourable stances with appreciations and gratitude, which concrete results are soon to emerge.'' said His Excellency President Al-Assad in a speech delivered at the Iftar Banquet, held in his hour by the Turkish Development and Justice ruling Party, Istanbul, September 16, 2009.

His Excellency President Al-Assad cited, further, Mr.  Erdoğan's honourable stance at Davos Summit in protest against and rejection of the Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian People of Gaza, ''Today, we are in need for the many of such honourable, clear, sincere, and just stances,'' underlined President Al-Assad; citing, further, the confidence and trust characterizing his relationship with the President of Turkey, H. E. Abdullah Gul, and Premier Erdoğan saying: ''It is from this very trust that we have started to work together for the stability of the region; we have had not even a slight doubt that the essence for this stability and the prelude for this stability are but the realization of the Just and Comprehensive Peace in the Middle East. We have translated this joint action through the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel in Istanbul, which lasted for eight months, preceded by joint coordination and preparation between me and Premier Erdoğan directly, for more than 13 months. Syria has once more proved during those negotiations, I say once more because in the 90's there were negotiations, her keenness on the realization of peace, through the serious participation in these negotiations. The Turkish mediator, who for the first time plays such a role, has also proved to be an objective and just broker, playing very skilfully his role.''

 H. E. President Al-Assad added: ''Israel, however, has once more asserted its rejection for peace, clinging to its ever stance destroying every peace realization initiative, responding to every initiative of such a type with new wars, and horrible massacres. This is what has happened! In 2002 following the Arab Peace Initiative, Israel committed massacres in Jenin, and the West Bank; in 2006 Israel launched its aggression against Lebanon. Four days after my telephone conversation with Premier Erdogan, which lasted up to the midnight when the then Israeli Premier was there in Turkey, Israel started its aggression against Gaza! We have had the hope that time has been ripe to complete a basic thing in the indirect negotiations; we have been surprised that the Israeli response was the attack against Gaza and the perpetrated massacres. However, the absence of the Israeli partner would not change our vision for the peace, and would never make us slow in working for the realization of the peace. This is to be through the pursuance of dialogue as to outline different notions, which could be transformed into a working plan. Once the partner from the Israeli side exists, we could quickly move on and accomplish an agreement, which could make of peace a realistic fact, rather than an illusion or a cover up for wars and massacres against the innocent. To be realistic, we talk about an illusionary partner, never existed since the existence of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The hope for the existence of such a partner has been on the decline, particularly with the increase of the Israeli extremism following the 1967 aggression; which is increased day by day at the level of governments, and –Israeli-public opinion!'' citing the Israeli recent Polls that more than 60 percent of the Israelis are against the return of the occupied territories in general, and the Golan in particular, to the their legitimate owners.

 ''We all know that the Process of Peace was established on the basis the Land for Peace; that is to say,  land for land does not exist; peace for peace does not exist; what does exist is the Land for peace and he who rejects the Land, rejects the peace,'' added H. E. President Al-Assad recalling the statements given by Israeli Premier, Yitzhak Shamir in 1991, that he would make peace negotiations be prolonged to 10 years, and that today after 18 years since the start of Madrid Peace Conference, even things are worse than they were before the launching of Madrid Peace Conference. ''The partner for the peace is only to exist when pressures are to be exerted upon it; so that it would understand that a one colour could never live in the Middle East of diversity, and that the sole price for the peace is but the full return of the rights, and that force, regardless of how much big, is incapable of uprooting the people or faith,'' added H. E. President Al-Assad blasting the ongoing Israeli systematic Judaization of Jerusalem, expelling the City Palestinian population for the creation of their one coloured  Jewish state.

''We are strongly committed to the Turkish role and mediation,'' asserted President Al-Assad as far as whatever peace negotiations with Israel. ''The indirect peace negotiations are the basis for the direct ones. If we were to make a success during the indirect negotiations phase, and the Turkish role were to make a success, it would be possible to move on to the direct negotiations, we can liken the said basis to a building; if the building has weak foundations, this building will collapse over its owners with the first sway; that is why we have to make sure that the foundations are solid during the indirect negotiations phase, so that the building of the peace would be solid, and then the matters for the coming generations would be good and normal.''

''My participation in this Ramadan Iftar, given by Istanbul development and Justice Party Branch, is a deep expression of all that binding our two People, including the roots, links, habits and traditions, which add the noble emotional features to our relations. The Islamic World is in a dire need today for the type of relations like these binding Syria and Turkey, replacing discord with amity, separation with meeting, working for spreading the peace and goodness all over the region,'' outlined H. E. President Al-Assad citing the many positive accomplishments and achievements achieved because of the Arab-Turkish cooperation in general, and the Syrian Turkish one in particular, '' We have met each other not in the middle of the way; but to cross together the way, which we have drawn through our long history, towards a future full of accomplishments, and filled with amity and peace,'' underlined His Excellency President Al-Assad, highlighting the role played by the independent National Resolution to this effect, '' the Independent National decision in no way means to be contrary with neighbours, or with countries near the neighbours; such a decision means that no relation in the world could compensate for the good relations with neighbours, as states and as people. Whether this neighbourhood were a state or people, nothing could compensate for our inter relations as neighbours, irrespective of race, religion or whatever other criterion. It goes without saying that the building of the dependent National decision means accordance of interests among the sons of the one region.''

His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad held talks with the Turkish Premier, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan focusing at the prospects of strategic cooperation between Syria and Turkey, taking a joint decision as to develop a strategic partnership in bolstering of solidarity between both friendly States. The talks also dealt with all prospects of cooperation between Syria and Turkey, the regional current conditions, reviewing with satisfaction the continued bolstering of the Syrian-Turkish relations in all fields in the interest of both People interests, and in contribution to the realization of stability and security in the region.

With this in mind, both sides have decided to cancel visa of entry between Syria and Turkey. Both sides reviewed the conditions in the region, the whereabouts of Mideast Peace revival efforts, reiterating rejection of the continued Israeli settlement policy, the siege imposed on Gaza, and the policies pursued by Israel against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza in violation the International Law, and as a real obstacle on the way of peace. His Excellency President Al-Assad highlighted the role played by Turkey as to put an end to wars, achieve justice. Mr. Erdogan, on his part, highlighted the Syrian key role in the region security and stability.

Syrian Foreign Minister Mr. Walid Al-Moua'lem inked, along with his Turkish Counterpart, Mr. Ahmet Davutoglo, a joint Communiqué stipulating the creation of a High-Level Strategic Co-operation Council between Syria and turkey, to be chaired by the premiers of both countries, and to meet at least once a year. The cooperation is to include political, diplomatic, economic, transport, power, water resources, environment, culture, education and science fields, in addition to cooperation in the field of Visa Issuance.

 

Edited & Translated by

Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Rome, Italy, September 16, 2009.