Erdoğan urged Obama to attack Syria: report
From online dispatches
AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly urged the U.S. president to lead an attack on conflict-hit Syria after the country downed a Turkish jet on June 22.
A report published on Debka File claimed Erdoğan tried to persuade Barack Obama to use the "opening" created by the shooting down of a Turkish jet to stage an assault on Syria, in a phone conversation between the two leaders on June 26.
Erdoğan "argued forcefully" that the incident provided the perfect opening for a Western-Muslim-Arab offensive on Syria to move in and create a no-fly zone, attacking the regime's military targets and establishing safe zones for Syrian rebels and refugees.
The Turkish Army, Air Force and Navy stood ready for action, Erdoğan allegedly told Obama, but this time the U.S. had to lead the offensive – and not "just from behind," as in Libya.
The U.S. president countered Erdoğan's arguments by saying the time had not yet come for direct military action against Syria by the U.S. and that they had to contend with covert operations by American, British, French and Turkish special forces that were already continuing in the country.
Erdoğan reportedly held his ground, saying covert tactics would fail to stop the violence in Syria or overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. He said only the open exercise of American military power would achieve this end as Turkey was unable to go forward on its own.