Turkey's Erdogan can meet Syria's Assad "when right time comes"

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference during the Informal EU 27 Summit and Meeting within the European Political Community at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, October 6, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

ANKARA, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he could meet with Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad when the time was right and would not rule that out, reinforcing tentative recent steps to thaw ties between combatants in Syria's war.

"As of now such a meeting is not on the agenda. But I cannot say it is impossible for me to meet with Assad," Erdogan told a press conference at the Prague meeting of the European Political Community.

"When the right time comes, we can also go to the way of meeting with the President of Syria," he added.

Any normalisation between Ankara and Damascus would reshape the decade-long Syrian war. Turkish backing has been vital to sustaining Syrian rebels in their last major territorial foothold in the northwest, after Assad defeated the insurgency across the rest of the country, aided by Russia and Iran.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Jonathan Spicer

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