News / Middle East

Turkish PM: Lost Confidence in Syrian Leadership

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses lawmakers in Ankara, Nov. 15, 2011
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses lawmakers in Ankara, Nov. 15, 2011

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech to his parliamentary deputies Tuesday, said his country had lost confidence in the Syrian leadership.

His comments follow the attacks Saturday by pro-government demonstrators on Turkish diplomatic missions in Syria. Tensions between the two former close allies continue to escalate as Ankara increases its support for the Syrian opposition.

In the speech, Mr. Erdogan and launched an attack against President Bashar al-Assad. Addressing Mr. Assad disrespectfully by his first name, Bashar, Mr. Erdogan said a future cannot be built on the blood of oppressed people and that the Syrian leader will pay the price sooner or later. Mr. Erdogan said history will remember such leaders as those "feeding on blood," and that Mr. Assad was well on his way to opening that page.

Bilateral tensions increased after pro-Assad supporters attacked diplomatic missions across Syria on Saturday. Ankara is demanding a full apology and the prosecution of those responsible for the attacks. Following the attacks, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday formally met with representatives of the opposition Syrian National Council.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Ankara had agreed to the opposition's request to open an official office.

"They will have an office in Turkey. The Turkish foreign minister, Mr. Davutoglu, received the Syrian council members for a second time. They have explained their views of the situation in Syria. We told this group that the fate of Syria will be determined by the people. We also suggested they stay in peaceful methods," Unal said.

Ankara has in the past few months allowed the Syrian opposition to operate in Turkey. Last month, various opposition groups formed the Syrian National Council at a meeting in Istanbul.

"It's playing an interesting bittersweet game. It's saying it's not arming the opposition in any way, but it's clear on the other hand it's providing protection and the venue to meet. And now Davutoglu has actually sat down and met with the opposition. I think Turkey is in final analysis in pursuing these contacts with the opposition. It considers that Assad's time is over and [that] it's just a matter of time," said diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet.

While Ankara says it only supports peaceful opposition, it is hosting the leaders and members of an opposition militia, the self-declared "Syrian Free Army." The group claims to have as many as 15,000 members fighting the Syrian army. Rumors are growing both in Turkey and the wider region that Ankara could intervene militarily and create a safe haven in Syria for opponents of the Assad government.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Unal, when asked, would not rule out such a possibility, but he said it is not on the agenda now.

"Like every country, Turkey, the Turkish government, has its contingency plans for every eventuality, on every occasion and [on] every issue," Unal said.

Mr. Erdogan had indicated that sanctions would be announced last month. But the October earthquake in the Turkish city of Van saw Ankara distracted. Now Syria is back at the top of the agenda. But diplomatic columnist Idiz says with its 800-kilometer border with Syria and the rapidly deteriorating situation there, Ankara is becoming increasingly careful in its actions toward Damascus.

"I think Turkey is reacting to a developing situation, about which Turkey has no definite knowledge as to how it will end. Therefore Turkey feels it has to be very cautious," Idiz said.

Turkey's increasing ties with the Syrian opposition and international pressure against Damascus are seen as signs that Ankara believes the end game for President Assad has started. But observers say how that game will play out and what role Ankara will play still remains unclear.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid