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POLITICS > Turkish PM and Syrian president engage in war of words

ANKARA / DAMASCUS - Hürriyet Daily News

Prime Minister Erdoğan says Syrian president is politically dead though it is difficult to tell the timing of his departure while Bashar al-Assad accusses Turkish government to establish a new Ottoman empire

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Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad look at a map at Suleiman al-Halabi neighbourhood in Aleppo. Al-Assad forces and rebels are landlocked in a brutal war. REUTERS photo

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad look at a map at Suleiman al-Halabi neighbourhood in Aleppo. Al-Assad forces and rebels are landlocked in a brutal war. REUTERS photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have engaged in a war of words over the 18-month long crisis in Syria, with both sides accusing each other in separate interviews.

“Bashar is politically dead. Of course, it is difficult to tell whether this [his departure] will take place in a week, a month or when. This also has to do with how Russia and China approach the situation,”
Erdoğan told the Washington Post in an interview, when asked about the fate of the embattled leader. “We see that they [Russia and China] also believe that al-Assad will go. The question they ask is what happens after al-Assad? My answer to them is that if we believe in a democratic parliamentary system, then the will of the people will be what will come to pass.”

In Damascus, the Syrian president put the blame on Ankara, saying the Turkish government was unconcerned “about the interests of its people, focusing solely on its ambitions, including a new Ottoman empire,” in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram al-Arabi. He also hit out at Saudi Arabia and Qatar, accusing them of arming Syrian rebels but insisting that they will not win.

“They suddenly saw money in their hands after a long period of poverty and think they can buy history and play a regional role,” al-Assad said. “The widespread idea that Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt are the cornerstone of stability in the region is false. It has always been, and will remain, Syria, Iraq and Egypt.”

Erdoğan also touched on the post-al-Assad period in Syria, saying: “This is not a problem. In Egypt, the Mubarak family was in power for more than 30 years, and he is gone. And the people elected someone [as president] whose name was not known. The Syrian people will bring in a strong leader through their own will. If we believe in democracy, this is what we should trust in.” On the issue of the establishment of a buffer zone in Syria, Erdoğan reiterated the need for U.N. backing. “We would not accept being part of what would be a trap, doing something without the U.N.,” he said.

Downed jet compensation

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities are working to finalize a detailed report regarding the Turkish jet downed on June to demand compensation from Syria, daily Hürriyet has reported. The report will outline Syria’s responsibility in the downing of the Turkish RF 4E jet in international airspace and demand Syrian authorities compensate Turkey for the jet, as well as the two pilots that were killed in the crash. the Turkish Chief of General Staff Military Prosecutor’s Office said yesterday.

The report will be sent to various international law foundations and to the U.N. Security Council with proper applications. The Turkish Chief of General Staff Military Prosecutor’s Office said the warplane was shot down by a Syrian air defense missile that did not directly hit the plane.

September/22/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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ilker avni

9/23/2012 6:51:41 PM

Assad has moved his chemical weapons to twenty sites spread over Syria,they are reports that he has been testing how to deliver his chemical weapons useing tank shells and bombs carried by planes, in the desert. According to a general who defected from Assads army.He will the weapons as a last resort,or has handed some of his chemical weapons to Hezbollah.Iranian and North Koreans are in Syria adviseing how to deliver the chemical weapons.

ilker avni

9/23/2012 6:26:13 PM

@ Hisham majed You say they is western involvement in Syria where your proof of this,only outside involvement is coming from Assads backers Iran and Hezbollah,your support for a man who is willing to use chemical weapons on his people,in order to stay in power.His people dont want him to stay,thats why millions took to the streets. Where have you been for the last year and a half. How can you ignore facts.

hisham majed

9/23/2012 2:31:59 PM

Ismail..I have relatives who are married to Syrians. Granted, they are not fans of Assad but they are totally against the opposition. Given a choice they will stick with Assad. The opposition has become nothing more than a western tool for regime change and not democracy. Assad has made reforms and even held local elections but the West are not allowing any form of dialog. They are happy for Syria to destroy itself. You and others should not allow this to happen if you really cared about Syria.

Mark Tak

9/23/2012 8:17:13 AM

Syriano Syrian, I agree with you and please do not forget Erdogan do not represent whole Turkish people he is paid made man of Mafia head for the International banking cartel. he is put to power by them and he is an enemy of the Turkish state, Erdogan and his AKP party will be gone sooner than you can imagine, Turkish people are fed up with this party and their dictatorship kind of rule,once people raise Erdogan will find himsef in the same as Mubarik of Egypt.or Gaddafi of Libya

Ismail Hijazi

9/23/2012 6:19:06 AM

@ Hisham I say your sources are only Bashar's propaganda machine, have you really talked to any Syrian who has been in the war? Talking to "real" people gives you the real perspective. I have known Syria since childhood, I have Syrian relatives, I understand what Bashar's Syria is about, and I know what I have seen with my own eyes. You Bashar and Iran followers don't fool anyone with your lies and smoke screens. You are like who tries to cover the sun with an umbrella!

ilker avni

9/23/2012 4:05:05 AM

@ Syriano Syrian Havnt you left out your frends from Iran amd Iraq and what about Hezbollah are they not helping Assad destroy the country,and how can the Syrian people be united like you say when Assad is useing planes and tanks to destroy they homes.is that being united.Ask your self why Assad has resorted to violance to stay in power,like all dictators Assad will kill thousands before they go either by force, or by a bullet to the head..

hisham majed

9/22/2012 11:32:56 PM

Ismail Hijazi.....I read your comments every day and I'm quite disappointed at the fact that you are still blind to the Truth. The Free Syrian army is in fact free. Free from Syrians. 90% are are foreign paid mercenaries. What do you say about that???

Sid Mark

9/22/2012 5:06:46 PM

Syriano,the world brother is a special one with a special meaning.Be careful who you select to call a brother. Politics is a dirty business where you have no friends and no relatives.You are on your own, so be strong and may God help you.

Ismail Hijazi

9/22/2012 3:26:34 PM

@ Alawiano Alawite can you define what you mean by 'Syrian People'?? Does it include the people of Hama, Aleppo, Homos, Daraa, and all the other brave people who rose up to liberate their country from the Alawite-Iranian occupation??

Syriano Syrian

9/22/2012 12:28:11 PM

It is getting very obvious that Syria can not be conquered by Israel, Turkey and Jordan, because the Syrian people are united and have cultural and moral values. The Syrian people do not support the destruction of there nation and Erdogan has showed his true colors with his continued fighters and weapons smuggling into Syria. These free army terrorists and mercenaries paid by the Israel and the U.S. will soon be gotten rid of. But we will never forget our brothers across the border betraying us.
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