Syrian president at dead end: Erdoğan
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Greeted by thousands of Syrians, Russian FM Lavrov dives into the Syrian crisis and meets with President al-Assad, who promises to end violence on all sides. AP photo
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is walking down “a dead-end street” and will inevitably be held accountable for his actions in suppressing anti-government protests, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned yesterday.
Erdoğan also said Turkey was preparing for a new initiative on Syria together with the broader international community to stand up to Damascus.
“We will launch a new initiative with countries that stand by the Syrian people instead of the regime,” Erdoğan told his deputies yesterday during a parliamentary meeting.
Turkey will continue to support the efforts of the Arab League, he said without providing details.
Erdoğan denounced Russia and China for vetoing a recent U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria, saying they had given al-Assad a “license to kill.”
The people of Syria are not an ordinary people for Turkey, he said. “You can see traces of a common history in Syria in every square meter of land.”
With the failure at the U.N. Security Council, Turkey has moved to enhance the Arab League’s efforts as part of the “international community’s conscience,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday, adding that the initiative did not include military action.
There are different ideas in the international arena, such as the “friends of democratic Syria,” and Turkey’s move was not an alternative but a parallel effort to those, the diplomat said.
“There is a need for a broader platform on the Syrian issue, including more than just regional countries, the Arab League and Turkey,” another Turkish official told the Daily News.
Turkey is maintaining diplomatic contacts with key international actors and institutions that could be involved in the initiative, and the goal of the initiative is different to the one in Libya or in Iraq as it did not aim at changing the Syrian regime or launching a military operation, the official said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will travel to the United States today for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton said Feb. 5 that the U.S would work with other nations to try to tighten sanctions against al-Assad’s government.
She has called for the “friends of democratic Syria” to unite and rally against al-Assad’s regime, hinting at the possible formation of a group of like-minded nations to coordinate assistance to the Syrian opposition from outside the U.N.