Syria unable to explain away photos showing torture in Syria, Turkish FM says
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu expressed 'indignation' over the 55,000 digital images of 11,000 dead detainees in Syria. AA photoSyrian officials attending peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, Jan. 23 could not dismiss photos that purported to show evidence of systematic torture, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.
“The regime could not say that they had no connection with the photos. The person who took the photos testified in front of a group of international lawyers,” Davutoğlu said. “How can someone produce 55,000 photos if nothing occurred?”
The issue will be kept on the agenda, and the Syrian government will have to give an account before the law, the minister said.
“The regime has two paths [open to it]. Either it will step into serious negotiations or all the members of the regime will be tried in The Hague or in the International Criminal Court. One or all of these will happen in the upcoming period,” Davutoğlu said.
When Damascus does something that is revealed, some try to protect the Syrian government and put Turkey in a difficult position, Davutoğlu added.
“I am surprised by those who are asking, ‘What was going on behind this?’ instead of feeling indignation after seeing those photos,” he said.
The report on the photos, which was put together by a British law firm and commissioned by Qatar, was revealed on Jan. 20. It includes around 55,000 digital images of 11,000 dead detainees shot by a photographer who claims to have defected from the Syrian military police.
Davutoğlu alleged that some in Turkey that are not sensitive about their own country were attempting to show each day that Ankara was supporting terrorism in Syria, adding that those “who campaign about trucks in Adana are using the language of [Syrian Foreign Minister] Walid al-Muallem.”
Police forces have stopped a number of trucks in southern Turkey on their way to Syria on the grounds that they are transporting weapons, but have been forced to permit their continued passage due to orders from on high.
“What will those, who were saying that Turkey would get lonely when Assad stays in power, say now? Only marginal papers made al-Muallem’s words their lead story. [Who] will take him seriously?” he asked.
Davutoğlu also said Damascus’ true, bellicose nature was revealed in Montreux as al-Muallem did not use any positive word for the peace process.
Even the countries supporting the Syrian government were disappointed by al-Muallem’s speech, Davutoğlu said. “Even Russia and China could not say that al-Assad should stay.”
In contrast, Davutoğlu said the opposition had performed excellently at the talks. “The opposition’s speech was very visionary yesterday. We advised them to keep this attitude and to use a positive language in order to convince the international community as to their role in Syria’s future,” Davutoğlu said.
Davutoğlu also said they suggested a two-track negotiation process for both the interim government and humanitarian aid so as not to delay solutions to the country’s problems.