Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses his supporters in a Mother's Day event organized by his party in Istanbul. Erdoğan argued that Turkey's patience was being tested with the Reyhanlı attack but urged vigilance. REUTERS photo
The deadly blasts in the southern town of Reyhanlı near the Syrian border, which killed 46 people, reflect an intention to drag Turkey into a "bloody swamp" in Syria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said May 12, adding that the attack aimed to "disrupt Turkey's peace," urging vigilance against "provocations."
"The purpose of these attacks is to give opportunities to those who collaborate with the Baath regime. These are attacks intending to provoke those who leave in peace, especially in the Hatay [province]," Erdoğan said.
The Hatay enclave is home to many minorities living together, including Nusayris and Kurds who have family links with Syria.
"Turkey's patience and composure is being tested. They want to drag Turkey into a filthy scenario. But we will not fall into this trap," Erdoğan said.
The prime minister warned against any retaliation attacks against Syrian refugees, saying this would only serve the interests of those who perpetrated the attack. "If there is a single attack against a Syrian guest, even only verbal, the attackers will win," he said.Criticizing the government is 'opportunism'
The Turkish prime minister also slammed the opposition parties that called on the government to review its internal and foreign policies following the Reyhanlı attack. Describing as "opportunism" any attempt to criticize the government on the matter, Erdoğan said such accusations could only "play into the hands" of Turkey's enemies. "It is not time to find those responsible inside the country. Trying to seek political gain from this [attack] is unscrupulous," he added.
Erdoğan insisted that he would rather drop his prime minister office than shut his eyes to the babies being killed in Syria, adding that he could not give an account to God if he did so. "I saw with my wife the photographs in the newspapers, images from Banias in Syria that afflict one's spirit. We cried when we saw those babies martyred in their mother's arms. Those who defend the actors of the regime that perpetrated this massacre cannot explain this to the Turkish people or to humanity," he said.
Erdoğan also dismissed criticism that the government's policies on Syria were based on the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) or his own personal position. "The issue in Syria is not the AKP's or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's, but Turkey's issue. The plane that was shot down [on June 2012] was not the AKP's, but Turkey's plane," he said.