By Fahri Aksut
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish and Russian defense ministers had a “constructive” telephone conversation on coordinating and developing activities, said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday.
Speaking with reporters in the Turkish capital Ankara, Akar said he and Sergey had exchanged information on Syria and their agenda there.
“We discussed what needs to be done [in Syria] to coordinate activities and develop them appropriately," Akar said.
Akar did not mention to the reporters Turkey’s current anti-terror operation -- launched last week -- in northern Syria, but Turkey and Russia have a long history of working together for peace in Syria through the Astana process.
In 2017 the Astana peace process to end the Syrian conflict was spearheaded by Turkey, Russia, and Iran in Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan's capital, and since then has seen over a dozen meetings.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.