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POLITICS > Turkish PM engages in an all-out bashing over Syria crisis

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Israeli attacks were a "golden opportunity" for his one-time ally President Bashar al-Assad to cover up massacres of opponents. AA photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Israeli attacks were a "golden opportunity" for his one-time ally President Bashar al-Assad to cover up massacres of opponents. AA photo

Both Israel and its arch-foe Iran received their share of blunt criticism from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan May 7 for their policies regarding Syria, as he broke his silence over Israeli strikes in Syria.

In his overall criticism of “international policy” on Syria, which he “damned,” Erdoğan singled out the two regional rivals. He also lamented that the U.N. Security Council would suffer the consequences if it continued to remain silent in the face of atrocities committed in Syria.

“The air strike that Israel carried out on Damascus is completely unacceptable. There is no rationale, no pretext that can excuse this operation,” Erdoğan said, addressing a parliamentary meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

‘Golden plate to Assad’


“These attacks are chances, opportunities offered on a golden plate to al-Assad and to the illegitimate Syrian regime. Using the Israel attack as an excuse, he is trying to cover up the genocide in Banias,” Erdoğan said, referring to a Syrian coastal town where anti-Assad activists said at least 62 people were killed by government fighters over the weekend.

“Al-Assad, who has not sweated a single drop against Israel for the [occupation of the] Golan Heights is now using the Israeli attack to cover up the Banias massacre,” he said. Israeli officials said the air strikes on May 3 and May 5 were not intended to influence its neighbor’s civil war, but only at stopping Iranian missiles reaching Lebanese Hezbollah militants for possible use against the country. Erdoğan likened the mass killings of civilians in the town of Banias to the Battle of Karbala. He also likened the perpetrators to Caliph Yazid.

After the Hama massacre in 1982, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini had distanced himself from then-Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and accepted him into his office only months after the massacre, Erdoğan said. “Fine, now I ask those who are now running the same office: I wonder how long you will turn a blind eye to this massacre? The organizations that lend support to Syria’s illegitimate regime, the states that back Syria’s illegitimate regime, particularly the U.N. and the [U.N.] Security Council, will suffer the consequences,” he said.

Expressing outrage at the killing of children by the regime, which he said he had seen pictures of, Erdoğan blasted the international community for its failure to act.

“I wonder how long you will turn a blind eye to this massacre,” Erdoğan said. “Damn your international policies!” he yelled, while urging the U.N. Security Council to “urgently convene” over the Banias killings, which have sent residents fleeing. Over the weekend, Erdoğan had called the Syrian president a “butcher,” in his harshest attack in recent months.

May/07/2013

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