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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid