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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid