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POLITICS > PM Erdoğan likens Syrian crisis to Karbala Massacre

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Criticizing the Syrian regime for the ongoing violence in the country, Erdoğan tells
a religious summit: ‘What is happening [in Syria] is exactly the same as Karbala.’  AA photo

Criticizing the Syrian regime for the ongoing violence in the country, Erdoğan tells a religious summit: ‘What is happening [in Syria] is exactly the same as Karbala.’ AA photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has compared the current situation in Syria to the battle of Karbala that took place 1,332 years ago. 

“I say it very clearly, what is happening in Syria right now is exactly the same thing as what happened in Karbala 1,332 years ago,” Erdoğan said during his opening speech at an international conference on “The Arab Awakening and Peace in the Middle East: Muslim and Christian Perspectives” held in Istanbul on Sept. 7. 

“The victims might be different and the cruelty might be different here, but what is happening [in Syria] is exactly the same as Karbala.” 

In the Battle of Karbala, the supporters and relatives of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein ibn Ali were all killed by the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph, who Hussein had refused to recognize as caliph. The dead are regarded as martyrs by Muslims, and the battle has a central place in Shiite Islam history and tradition. 

Erdoğan said that while a cruel and dictatorial regime was committing massacres against its own people, there were people who stay silent or who applaud these cruelties out of sectarian fanaticism. 
He said the killing, torturing and massacring of innocent children were inhuman actions both in his religious sect (Sunni) and in the sects of the people committing and supporting these crimes.

“I know it very well that killing is religiously forbidden for Shiites as it is forbidden by religion for Sunnis. I know very well that killing is forbidden in Christianity and Judaism, as it is forbidden in Islam,” Erdoğan said. 

“‘These innocent children are not from our sect or religion. So let them die.’ For god’s sake what kind of understanding is this? How can a human explain this with his values and with his conscience?” Erdoğan said. 

Erdoğan also said different religions and sects within the Ottoman Empire were seen as a great richness and welcomed with great tolerance by the Ottoman Empire. 

“Starting from Mardin, Hatay and Istanbul, I see every religion and sect within the Turkish Republic as a great richness,” he said. 

Assyrians in Syria worry

The Chaldean-Assyrian community’s spiritual leader François Yakan, who attended the conference, said they feared that the situation of Christians in Syria might become like the situation for Christians in Iraq. 

“The population of the Christian minority Chaldeans has decreased from 1.1 million people to 500,000 after the radical Islamist groups’ threats following the war. If the Islamist radical groups do the same thing in Syria, we fear that we might have to face a similar situation for the Christian Chaldeans in Syria,” Yakan told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Sept. 7. 

Meanwhile the secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, said the Syrian people were living in a tragedy and that it was also their responsibility to end this violence in Syria. 

“It is unacceptable for the Christians to withdraw and stay silent instead of showing courage and making an effort for the establishment of peace,” he said. 

September/08/2012

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Nikos T.

9/10/2012 9:51:34 AM

Lies, lies, lies and slander. He thinks he is talking (only) to ignorants. He managed to have only enemies around his borders and he is talking for peace. He has a big role in Syria's bloodshed. The Arab spring is followed by an Arab winter and he should have protected his people for it. However, the "ottoman empire" part on his speeches is always funny.

Ismail Hijazi

9/9/2012 4:53:52 PM

@ shah Hamdan, the only one who has reached a dead end is your Iran. Iran has become a pariah state who all either avoid or guard against. Soon Iran will be really living in it's own universe when no one will even talk with it anymore. You Shia's are being fooled by the Iranian leaders who will walk you to your doom. Chaldiran's 500 year anniversary will be in 2014, and it seems that Iranians are doomed to repeat it, having not learnt anything from history! Inshallah you will see this soon.

american american

9/9/2012 12:43:00 PM

the question is who is who? who is opposing the rightful caliph and who are the blasphemers?

Pakistan Pakistan

9/9/2012 12:14:27 AM

I salute you Mr.Erdoğan, you are a great leader of the region and you are always and will be with the right/innocent people. I wish every muslim leader was like you... Dont listen to your haters, because they are selffish and self centered people.

Nicetrub Leska

9/8/2012 10:01:18 PM

The same rhetoric everytime "“Starting from Mardin, Hatay and Istanbul, I see every religion and sect within the Turkish Republic as a great richness,” he said. " great lie. Frequently, he uses the sects and religions of his political opponents against them without any hesitate and without any consideration how these hateful speech affects the society as piece of his rhetoric: "He is alevi", "They are Zoroasters", "They are not circumcised" stressing he is the prime minister of sunnis inTurkey.

Shah Hamdan

9/8/2012 2:17:10 PM

All these moves show Turkey is in deep crises in home and on international fronts. Ever changing statements from government officials show their desperation. Its confirming every day Turkish government policies have reached dead end of street. Now they want to get out of it by any way. Today PM remember Karbala and economics department want to keep relations with Iran despite American pressure.

hisham majed

9/8/2012 11:32:24 AM

Please Turkey, Remove this man from power!!!! He is losing his perception on reality day by day. His comments only inflame the situation. What do you suggest Mr Erdogan...a full scale invasion.......Would that save more Muslim Lives ???? How do you describe the killings and bombings from the opposition of other Muslims??? Politics is surely becoming a very dirty business.

Rimon Tree

9/8/2012 10:31:23 AM

“I say it very clearly, what is happening in Syria right now is exactly the same thing as what happened in Karbala 1,332 years ago,” Erdoğan said Oh yes, that also shows very clearly indeed in which century the esteemed PM usually lives and thinks and to where he wants bring back modernTurkey!

Murat Arun

9/8/2012 6:23:23 AM

Great words by a great leader. Well done Mr Erdogan. All the haters of Turkiye wake up and see how a true leader leads....

Diren Sesel

9/8/2012 3:39:08 AM

what about the karbalas in your country Erdogan
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