ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is seeking to hold a summit in Istanbul with France, Germany and Russia on Sept. 7 to discuss regional issues including the Syrian conflict, in comments published on Sunday.
“We will discuss what we can do in the region together,” Erdogan said, quoted by Hurriyet daily.
He gave no further details on the issues on the agenda but said Turkey would continue dialogue with Russia, “outside of this foursome,” in the remarks made to Turkish journalists during his South Africa visit on July 25-27.
Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit on the sidelines of the Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa summit of leading emerging economies in Johannesburg.
“We will separately have a summit in Istanbul on Sept. 7 with Russia, Germany, France and Turkey,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow, Paris or Berlin.
While Moscow and Tehran support the Bashar Assad regime, Ankara has repeatedly called for his ouster and helped Syrian opposition.
In April, Erdogan held a summit with Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Ankara.
The three leaders are due to meet again in the near future in Tehran, Erdogan said without giving an exact date, while technical talks as part of the Astana process will take place on Monday and Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russia.
Separately on Sunday, Erdogan warned the US in comments that sanctions would not force Ankara to “step back” after US President Donald Trump threatened to punish Turkey if an American pastor was not freed.
“You cannot make Turkey take a step back with sanctions,” Erdogan said in his first comments since relations soured after Trump threatened the measures on Thursday if Pastor Andrew Brunson was not released.
“The US should not forget that it could lose a strong and sincere partner like Turkey if it does not change its attitude,” he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily.
“The change of attitude is Trump’s problem, not mine,” he told journalists during a visit to South Africa, calling the US threats “psychological warfare.”
Relations between the NATO allies have worsened over the jailing of Brunson, who ran a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir.
He was held in a Turkish jail for almost two years on terror charges but was placed under house arrest on Wednesday.
Trump on Thursday hit back at the move, calling for his immediate release and warning that the US would impose “large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment” of Brunson.