Al-Assad cannot stand against people’s will: Turkey's PM
VARNA / ANKARA
A Free Syrian Army fighter, who defected regular army, reads an statement near Deraa. ‘Bashar must know that we will stand by the oppressed,’ PM Erdoğan says. REUTERS photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday that the Syrian regime could not last if it continued to disregard the “will of people,” responding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent interview.
“More than 10,000 people have been killed. There are tanks in the streets. [In such a situation] we cannot say ‘Bashar: you are doing good,’” said Erdoğan yesterday at a press conference after meeting with his Bulgarian and Qatari counterparts in the Bulgarian city of Varna, Anatolia news agency reported.
“Today, I declare it clearly from Bulgaria that Bashar will not stand against the will of people. This is because what people want will come true sooner or later,” said Erdoğan.
Stating that the violent incidents in Syria were a breach of international human rights, Erdoğan said, “Bashar must know that we will stand by the oppressed” in Syria.
Responding to a question on al-Assad’s recent interview to a Russian channel criticizing Turkey, Erdoğan advised not paying attention to al-Assad’s statements.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani and Erdoğan discussed the recent incidents in Syria and their opinion on Syria coincides, according to Erdoğan. Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bağış, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Forestry and Water Works Minister Veysel Eroğlu also attended the meeting.
‘Kurdish militants control Syrian towns’
Turkish officials have accused Syria of colluding with Kurdish militants along the countries’ mutual border and declared President Bashar al-Assad’s recent criticism of Ankara as “unacceptable,” amid simmering bilateral tensions.
Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin said Damascus had ceded the control of several border settlements to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban network of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has a strong support base among Syria’s Kurds.
“As a result of observations we have made and intelligence we have obtained, we have unfortunately established that Syria is supporting the KCK separatist terrorist organization. We know the Syrian state administration is absent from some towns on the Turkish border and that militants of the illegal separatist organization are in charge there,” Şahin said late May 17.
“Taking into account those developments in Syria, we have stepped up our border security as well as intelligence and surveillance against the separatist terrorist organization. We have prepared ourselves accordingly,” he said.
President Abdullah Gül, meanwhile, dismissed al-Assad’s remarks to Russian television earlier this week, in which the Syrian leader said Turkish leaders were “carried away by dreams” and “consider themselves very smart.”
“The criticism is unacceptable. The problem is not between Turkey and Syria. This is a problem between Syria and its people. Incidents concerning human rights are no longer confined to domestic affairs. They become international problems,” Gül said May 18, before departing to the United States.