ŞANLIURFA - Doğan News Agency
It is time for Syrian President al-Assad ‘to get out,’ PM Erdoğan says, criticizing the former’s cruelty while hailing the opposition as Syria’s next rulers
Turkish PM Erdogan greets Syrian refugees with his wife Emine Erdogan as they visit a refugee camp near Akcakale border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border. REUTERS Photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
introduced the head of the Syrian opposition National Coalition to cheering crowds in Akçakale yesterday while calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quit in the strongest terms yet.
“My brothers, more than 100 countries have recognized the leadership of this friend [Moaz al-Khatib] and his team. What does this mean? It means that ‘al-Assad, we don’t recognize you any more, get out’ because leaders who do not get approval from their people cannot remain in power. Unwanted leaders will quit and the ones who are demanded will come to power,” Erdoğan said next to al-Khatib in Akçakale, in which five locals were killed Oct. 3 when they were hit by mortars from Syria.
Erdoğan introduced him as ‘the coalition leader of our Syrian brothers and glorious movement.”
Saluting the crowd with al-Khatib and wearing Syrian clothing, Erdoğan continued his attacks on al-Assad. “Tyrants will be remembered with al-Assad’s cruelty. His father [Hafez] is not remembered with good deeds, he won’t be remembered in the same way, too,” Erdoğan said during his visit to refugee camps in the Ceylanpınar and Akçakale districts of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, adding that al-Assad once told him that “[his] elders made some mistakes but that we won’t make the same mistakes.”
“[Cruelty] is cultivated in his genes. He even surpassed his father. Some 50,000 Syrian brothers have been killed by his bombs,” Erdoğan said.
The premier said the number of Syrian refugees staying in Turkish camps had reached 150,000, adding that there were close to 230,000 Syrians outside the camps.
A day before, the prime minister said Turkey was receiving “strong signals” that the Syrian crisis was coming to an end. “A government will soon be in charge in Syria that will satisfy the needs and desires of the Syrian people,” Erdoğan said at a party meeting Dec. 29.
“We are receiving strong signals that the end is approaching in Syria. The brutal, bloody process is finally coming to and end. Soon there will be a government that will satisfy the needs and desires of the Syrian people,” Erdoğan said.
According to the prime minister, once the ruling powers change in Syria, the “people of [Turkey and Syria] will walk together into the future, joining forces.”
Erdoğan also touched upon the previous bond of friendship between him and al-Assad that had been a point of criticism in recent months. “We were friends, we were meeting in families. But even if it was my own father, and he turned cruel, I would not walk the same path with him because consenting to cruelty is cruelty itself,” Erdoğan said.
“Regardless of what [al-Assad] does, the people will triumph. Don’t ever worry about that. The price may be heavy, and it may be difficult, but sooner or later, the Syrian people will come out victorious,” he said.