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Syria intervention not off table

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 8/12/2011 12:00:00 AM | MURAT YETKİN - murat.yetkin@hurriyet.com.tr

Turkey isn’t ruling out international intervention in Syria if the Bashar al-Assad regime doesn’t stop using violence against its own people, a Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Hürriyet Daily News on Friday.

Turkey isn’t ruling out international intervention in Syria if the Bashar al-Assad regime doesn’t stop using violence against its own people, a Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Hürriyet Daily News on Friday.

The source also said that a letter from Turkish President Abdullah Gül to Assad delivered by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Tuesday was considered by Ankara as an “ultimatum” to Damascus that, if violence by Syrian troops continued, Assad would no longer be able to rely on Turkey’s friendship.

“Up until eight months ago, we were trying to convince our Western allies to give some more time for Assad to implement reforms. We were as friendly as to convene joint Cabinet meetings and lift visas,” the source told the Daily News. “But if a regime is not listening to the advice of its friend and neighbor and continues opening fire on its own people, that regime can no longer be Turkey’s friend.”

Another factor why Turkey’s patience is “being exhausted,” as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says, is the open support that the Iranian government has declared for the Syrian government.

“Syria is already ruled by a religious minority that is close to the Shiite majority in Iran,” the source said. “A further escalation of tension might lead to sectarian fights not only in Syria but also in Iraq, and Turkey is naturally uncomfortable, having relatives from all Islamic sects in the region on both sides of the border.”

Click here to read the full article by Hürriyet Daily News Editor-in-Chief Murat Yetkin

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