More massacres to come if al-Assad gains time: Turkish FM
Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, speaks about the Ministerial meeting of Syria bordering countries, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reiterated once again Turkey's uncompromising stance against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, in an interview with the private broadcaster Habertürk.
Davutoğlu stressed once again that the government had "no doubt" that a chemical attack was carried out by the regime, after long evaluations with experts on the matter.
"Such an attack can only be performed with missiles by experienced experts, that kind who are only held by the Syrian regime," he stated regarding the chemical attacks in Homs and Damascus.
The foreign minister added that if the al-Assad regime gained time with a months-long inventory taking of weapons, this would amount to a "green light" for more massacres, Anadolu Agency has reported.
The attack was conducted to punish the civilian people and stop them supporting the opposition, Davutoğlu said.
Asked about possible threats that Turkey might face in the event of an attack against Syria, Davutoğlu said the presence of a regime that could use chemical weapons did constitute a threat, but refrained from giving a timetable for an operation.
Turkey manages crisis well
"Despite harsh criticisms during the installation of Patriot missiles in Turkey, we have taken all necessary measures to protect our people," Davutoğlu said, adding that the refugee situation in the country was also being handled well.
"Turkey has managed the refugee crisis quite well, in a way that other countries admire," he said.
The official number of Syrian refugees in Turkey recently surpassed 200,000, but the total number is estimated to be in excess of 400,000.
Davutoğlu also said the Turkish government had made efforts to mediate between the al-Assad regime and the opposition for about 10 months, while rejecting that the government had become excessively involved with the opposition.
"We have never provided any kind of support to the al-Nusra front in Syria," he said, while reiterating the government's support for the "moderate" and civil opposition, the Syria National Coalition (SNC).