Turkish FM Davutoğlu chides Kerry over US praise for al-Assad
Ahmet Davutoğlu said al-Assad 'deserved no praise.' DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZTurkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has reproached his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, for recent remarks praising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for quickly complying with a resolution to destroy Damascus’ chemical weapons.
“Anyone who speaks about Syria should not say anything elsewhere that they wouldn’t be able to say when looking into the faces of Syrian refugees who are suffering,” Davutoğlu said on Oct. 8, speaking during a press conference with his Danish counterpart, Villy Sovndal.
“It is not possible to find a solution to the Syrian crisis unless we feel the same with the Syrian refugees when someone says the Syrian regime deserves credit,” he added, when asked about Kerry’s recent remarks.
Touching on Turkey’s support for a recent deal on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, the minister said he “openly discusses” the issues with Kerry, while underlining that he had a “close, friendly relationship” with the U.S. secretary of state.
“Any discourse that does not address the hearts of the Syrian refugees will not bring peace; on the contrary, it will raise offensiveness ... will egg on an offensive regime to stage more attacks just after chemical weapons were used,” he said.
Davutoğlu referred to pictures of dead children due to recent chemical attack in Syria and stressed that many world leaders, including Kerry, had seen them. “We don’t think those who are responsible for the attack deserve any praise,” he added.
Davutoğlu also warned against the risks if the international community lost its decisive stance against the Syrian government.
The U.S. secretary of state praised al-Assad on Oct. 7 for beginning to destroy chemical weapons in Syria just a week after a U.N. Security Council resolution was passed on the matter.
“I think it’s also credit to the al-Assad regime for complying rapidly, as they are supposed to. Now, we hope that will continue. I’m not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road, but it’s a good beginning, and we should welcome a good beginning,” Kerry said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu also once again refuted allegations that Turkey was supporting the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front fighting in Syria.
“Turkey has never allowed al-Qaeda-linked groups … to cross its borders,” he said. “No one should bring this allegation, as Turkey is one of the countries fighting against terrorism.”