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Fledgling Turkish-Syrian dialogue faces bumpy road ahead

Ankara and Damascus need to moderate their positions to avoid a collision in their quest for normalization.
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Ankara’s bid to normalize ties with Damascus has advanced to the level of ministerial talks, but an array of stumbling blocks remain that could derail the fledgling dialogue unless both sides moderate their positions. 

The diplomatic U-turns of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are often attributed to the stumbles of his regional policies, but his political instincts and the maneuvering ability they bring him should not be overlooked. Wary of the rising political cost of staying out of the normalization trend in the region, he pursued rapprochement with Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Cairo before turning to the Syrian government. Russian President Vladimir Putin had sought to coax him to mend fences with Damascus ever since the launch of the Astana process and is now skillfully offering him incentives to go ahead.

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