World Bulletin / News Desk
“It’s not a choice but a necessity for preventing any danger that may come from Turkey’s southern border,” Ozturk Yilmaz told journalists in the parliament.
"If you would not directly meet Assad, if the opposition [in Syria] supported by Turkey would not take a joint step with Assad forces to secure the territorial integrity, the future of Syria would be worse than Iraq,” he added.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
The conflict escalated in 2014 after Daesh overran vast swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq, where -- despite a string of recent losses -- it still maintains a significant presence.
He said Geneva and Astana talks have failed in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria. "I do not say that we should not take part in them but they have failed in providing any solution to the conflict."
Several rounds of peace talks -- in both Geneva and Kazakh capital Astana -- have so far failed to end the Syrian conflict, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed to date.
Turkey and Iran, along with Russia, are the brokers for the Astana peace talks on Syria. The fifth round of talks was held in July.
During May talks in Kazakh capital, Turkey (which supports the Syrian opposition) agreed with Russia and Iran (which support the Assad regime) on a plan to establish a network of “de-escalation zones” in different regions of war-torn Syria.