INTERNATIONAL > Obama's 'red line' on Syria crossed long ago: Turkish PM Erdoğan


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'There are [Syrian] patients who have been brought to our hospitals who were wounded by these chemical weapons,' Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during an exclusive interview with NBC News on May 9. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

'There are [Syrian] patients who have been brought to our hospitals who were wounded by these chemical weapons,' Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during an exclusive interview with NBC News on May 9. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the U.S. government to take stronger action regarding Syria in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Ann Curry on May 9, a week before his visit to Washington.

Erdoğan said President Barack Obama's "red line" had been crossed a "long time ago," as it was clear that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

"We want the United States to assume more responsibilities and take further steps. What sort of steps they will take, we are going to talk about this," he said. 

Syria is widely expected to top the agenda during the Turkish prime minister's meeting with Obama at the White House on May 16.

Asked whether Turkey would support a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone in Syria, Erdogan said, "Right from the beginning...we would say 'yes.'

Erdoğan said Turkey had at least 200 "remainders of missiles," which it believes were used in chemical attacks. He also cited the injuries of Syrians who crossed the Turkish border for medical treatment as evidence.

"There are patients who have been brought to our hospitals who were wounded by these chemical weapons," he said, but added that he could not confirm whether sarin gas had been used.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced May 9 that Ankara would share with the public the results of blood tests on suspected victims of injured Syrians being treated in Turkey. Davutoğlu also added that standardized blood tests would be carried out on every injured Syrian fleeing the war-torn country.

During his interview with NBC, Erdoğan rejected suggestions that the rebels might have used chemical weapons. "There is no way I can believe in this now. First of all, how are they going to obtain this? Who would give such weapons to them?" he said. "But if it does exist, then we are against it ... We are against whoever holds the weapons."

The Turkish prime minister also referred to reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife and children had left Syria. He said their life had been "ruined" by the Syrian president. "Sooner or later, the opposition are going to get [Bashar al-Assad]," Erdoğan said, advising the president's family to leave their country.


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Notice on comments

ilker avni

5/11/2013 12:19:45 AM

NO One can say the Turkish Prime Minster Mr Erdogan is not fighting on behalf of the Syrian people "Rights" to Demorcracy,no one has fought as hard as Erdogan..Turkey has all along stood by the Syrian people and they basic human rights to freedom,Turkey has led rather than the United states of America who say they stand for Liberty and Freedom,except when it comes to Islamic Countries it seems.They deny the Syrians they basic human rights to defence,with they arms embargo,

ilker avni

5/10/2013 11:03:17 PM

@Mara You sound as if you enjoy watching the sight of dead people,if you want to watch victims of chemical weapons then try watching the news,I recommend you watching a proper news channel like cnn Turk or Al-Jazeera,i recommend allso watching Al-Jazeera programs very enlighting.

ismail demir

5/10/2013 7:29:57 PM

If Erdogan started to support Esad, the possibility of US intervention will be increased.It was tested in Libya.

ilker avni

5/10/2013 7:11:27 PM

I wouldnt be surprised if Turkey seeks permission to enter Syria from Obama,The Americans want a political solution to remove Assad from power,but its the Russians who object to his removal and want to wait untill 2014 elections,which means the war goes on untill the oppostion runs out of weapons and Assad with his arms supplies from Iran and Russian tip the balance in Assad favour.Turkey and israel will be the losers,with Irans latest weapons flowing freely into Hezbollah.

mara mcglothin

5/10/2013 3:40:08 PM

The USA will not be quick to get involved. So chemical weapons were used? Show us the photos of the dead and it will be obvious. And what of the chemicals used against the Kurds in N Iraq? Where was the PM then? What did he do to help his "brothers" in Iraq? RORSCHACH He wants the USA to intervene so he conveniently has someone to blame, since Muslims don't blame other Muslims for these kind of things because they don't kill each other. Didn't you know???

alkan alkan

5/10/2013 3:05:54 PM

"We want the United States to assume more responsibilities" Who are we? Is this the royal plural? Anyway who are you to order the United States.? Stop meddling in Syria as you have the giant of a problem with the Kurds. Of course you delegated that task to your "wise persons"...that is why you think you can relax and enjoy yourself with big projects like an Ottoman on the moon soon ?

two sides to every coin

5/10/2013 1:13:20 PM

So come on Erdogan stop talking and you do something positive about Syria, and I don't mean take in a few more 100 refugees. AKP at its best, talk talk talk and no action.

Not Here

5/10/2013 12:21:00 PM

Unbelievable!! It is time for Turkey to do something. The comments are dead right! What is going on here?

gates anyi

5/10/2013 10:28:19 AM

Erdogan is sick/ very sick. making himself an object of mockery in the international arena. he sees the world only from personal perspectives. the truth of the matter with him is that he has a sympathetic problem with dealing with the realities around him. he must take a stand and stand very firm on it.

Michael Johnson

5/10/2013 9:22:43 AM

Why the U.S. and not NATO? Could it be, King Erdogan, that since Turkey is a member nation, you'd prefer to have someone else clean up the mess in your own back yard? If you're so concerned about the situation, why not take unilateral action? The U.S. is too war weary to deal with it. Let the Arabs take care of their own, Americans are passed caring what happens to Muslims anymore.
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