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POLITICS > Syria row hits Assembly

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Syria’s crisis tops Parliament’s agenda, as the opposition fails to unseat FM Davutoğlu for allegedly helping train militants.

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Turkish soldiers are watching over the border with Syria as several armored vehicles and tanks have been deployed to the Turkish southeastern city of Şanlıurfa’s
Mürşitpınar border post. In the face of the main opposition’s censure motion against him, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu (inset) defends his handling of the Syrian crisis. DHA photo

Turkish soldiers are watching over the border with Syria as several armored vehicles and tanks have been deployed to the Turkish southeastern city of Şanlıurfa’s Mürşitpınar border post. In the face of the main opposition’s censure motion against him, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu (inset) defends his handling of the Syrian crisis. DHA photo

Turkish Parliament rejected a motion to censure Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in a tense session Oct. 12 in which the opposition harshly criticized Turkey’s Syria policy.

Davutoğlu rebuffed accusations that Turkey was following a sectarian policy on Syria that favored Sunnis after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) submitted the censure motion.

“Our foreign policy on the Middle East has never been based on sect. [Moammar] Gadhafi in Libya, [Hosni] Mubarak in Egypt and [Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali in Tunisia, all of whose dictatorial policies we opposed, were Sunni. We oppose [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad because of his persecution of his people, not because of his sect,” Davutoğlu said in an address to Parliament Oct. 12.

The CHP decided to submit the censure motion against Davutoğlu last month after allegations surfaced that Syrian rebel soldiers were being trained in Turkish territory. The Foreign Ministry said the Apaydın refugee camp near Hatay was hosting Syrian soldiers who had defected, but denied training claims.

A previous censure motion against Davutoğlu, also submitted by the CHP, had been rejected on June 6.
It is a “cause of shame” for the opposition, which uses foreign policy for their internal policy interests by submitting two motions in six months, Davutoğlu said.

The foreign minister harshly criticized CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for his severe rhetoric. Kılıçdaroğlu recently called Davutoğlu an “idiot” during a speech in a CHP parliamentary group meeting. Davutoğlu said he would not use the same language as Kılıçdaroğlu had, but that he would file a lawsuit against the CHP leader on charges of libel.

“I will file libel suit against Kılıçdaroğlu for the highest compensation. I will donate this compensation to Syrian children who lost their fathers to the bombs of Bashar al-Assad,” Davutoğlu said.

Davutoğlu also responded to the opposition’s accusation that he was favoring Sunnis in Syria’s crisis in his recent suggestion that Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara would be an acceptable official to replace President Bashar al-Assad.

The minister said he had suggested al-Shara to replace al-Assad for a “transitional period” in Syria.

“I suggested Farouq al-Shara as the [leader of] a transitional period in Syria, because he is an experienced figure [in the Syrian regime] and he has no blood on his hands. My suggestion is only for a transitional period. We, as a party who signed the Geneva deal, are discussing with the U.S. and Russia about possible figures who can play a role in this transitional period. Al-Shara’s sect is not important, and we don’t interfere in the administrative matters of other countries. [My suggestion] is only for a transitional period,” Davutoğlu said.

CHP deputy Osman Korutürk, also speaking during the debate, said Turkey was coming to “the last exit before the bridge” in its Syrian policy. “If we miss this exit, we will proceed through uncertainties in foreign policy,” he said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Tuğrul Türkeş said they would vote against the censure motion, saying that they aim to strengthen the government’s hand in foreign policy even though they do not totally agree with the current foreign policy.

The motion was rejected with AKP and MHP votes.

October/13/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Lior Uziel

10/14/2012 2:14:55 PM

@TheAnatolian and @MR Somalia: regarding Kurds rights in Turkey (regardless of the question whether kurds deserve a country and where it should be), what are they? Is Kurd an official language in Turkey due to the large majority of Kurds? Offical means having signs in Eatern Turkey together with Turkish; or having Kurd language studied in schools....

Thracian Anatolian

10/14/2012 10:54:35 AM

MR somalia, bringing God into everything you're writing here does not give you more credibility. Kurds DO speak their language in Turkey, what on earth are you talking about? As a Somalian, you are not in a position to preach anyone that they should learn to live with different groups!

MR Somalia

10/13/2012 2:20:54 PM

Turkey also persecutes Kurds and even denies them their God given rights such as speaking their language. My Turkish brothers if Allah wanted Kurds to be amongst you, He would not give them different language and culture. You have to accept creation and just learn to live with different groups. You such chaos and trouble that no known neighbour enjoys any relationship with you. In your bid to runaway from the truth and reality, your waiting for EU membership that might come in the year 9090.

Thracian Anatolian

10/13/2012 11:45:21 AM

Some opposition members in Turkey are shameless, how can one support a person like Assad for domestic political gains? Of course Turkey had to engage bilaterally with the likes of Assad before, after all, a state needs to look after its own interests whether its interlocutor is Gandhi or Assad. So with what exactly does the opposition accuse the government? Which government in the world has a 'successful' foreign policy in this unpredictable region called the Middle East anyway?

Shah Hamdan

10/13/2012 10:08:42 AM

The FM will stay in his place till he drown the country.

Blue Dotterel

10/13/2012 9:04:20 AM

"It is a “cause of shame” for the opposition, which uses foreign policy for their internal policy interests". As if the AKP is not trying to use foreign policy for its internal policy interests, or worse, the policy interest of foreign states, not Turkey.

Alex Kader

10/13/2012 5:41:15 AM

"AKP and MHP votes" the action of those two parties clearly indicates that they complete each other. One of them is ultra nationalist, MHP, which does not produce any intelligent solution for any problem of Turkish people. Another one Ultra-religious and conservative, AKP, try to punish people who are not agree with them or against them. AKP desire to punish Syrian government because they are not Sunni and they did not gave up the power when Foreign Minister Davutoğlu ordered to do so.

mr who

10/13/2012 3:36:16 AM

In my opinion Turks should not under any circumstances follow a sectarian Middle Eastern policy after all it’s their religion and all prophets where Arabs. Turks where just Buddhists converts to Islam .
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