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MIDEAST >US military strikes in Syria positive but not enough: Erdoğan

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U.S. military strikes on chemical weapons sites in Syria are “positive concrete steps” but not enough, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 7.

“We find this [operation] positive as a step against the al-Assad regime’s war crimes committed with chemical and conventional weapons. But is it enough? I don’t see it as being enough,” Erdoğan said at a rally in the border province of Hatay.

“No one has the right to feel tranquil and secure in a world where children are brutally slaughtered. It has become inevitable that everyone should review their position after [the Idlib attack]. No one should attempt to conceal crimes against humanity and the slaughter of children under the guise of fighting against DAESH [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant],” he added.

“I hope this operation marks a beginning,” Erdoğan said, reiterating Turkey’s assertion that a safe zone should be established in Syria. 

“Our Syrian brothers and sisters in Turkey could live there on their own soil,” he added.

Welcoming the U.S. airstrike on the Syrian military base, reactions from Ankara urged the international community to declare no-fly zone in the war-torn country. 

The U.S. air strike on a Syrian air base early on April 7 is a “positive response against the al-Assad regime’s war crimes,” Turkish Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has stated, calling for a no-fly zone in Syria. 

“What happened in Idlib on Tuesday proved again that the bloody al-Assad regime shows complete disregard for the prospect of a political transition and efforts to enforce the ceasefire,” said Kalın.

“The destruction of the Sharyat airbase marks an important step to ensure that both chemical and conventional attacks against the civilian population do not go unpunished,” he added.

Kalın also stressed the need to “enforce a no-fly zone and create safe zones in Syria without further delay,” in order to “prevent similar massacres” from happening again.

“Moving forward, it is important for the international community to act in unison to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria,” he stated.


US informed Ankara

Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said safe zones in Syria were “now more important than ever.”

Çavuşoğlu said the coalition formed against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group was informed about the U.S. strike and he had spoken to his French and German counterparts. U.S. Ambassador in Ankara John Bass had informed Foreign Ministry undersecretary Ümit Yalçın of the attack, he added.
 
Çavuşoğlu also said contacts had been initiated with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The minister also called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s immediate removal, saying a transitional government must be established.

“It is necessary to oust this regime as soon as possible from the leadership of Syria,” Cavuşoğlu said.

“If he doesn’t want to go, if there is no transition government, and if he continues committing crimes against humanity, the necessary steps to oust him should be taken,” he added.

Turkey views U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base positively and the international community should sustain its stance against the “barbarity” of the Syrian government, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş stated on April 7. 

“As our president put it clearly, we do not only want to hear words, we want to see action. In this regard, the U.S. strike on the military base is significant and meaningful. However, the international community should clearly sustain its stance against the barbarism of the al-Assad regime until he is unable to harm his own people anymore. We welcome this action but we think that the al-Assad regime must completely be punished in the international field,” Kurtulmuş said in an interview with private broadcaster Fox TV.

“I hope that this United States operation will contribute to securing peace,” he added.


Turkey to give full support to steps that ensure accountability: MFA

In a separate written statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry also welcomed the U.S. airstrike. 

“Steps to be taken to ensure that similar offenses do not go unpunished and to guarantee accountability will have the full support of Turkey,” read the statement. 

Turkey will continue to work with the international community in order to “prevent the regime from terrorist and collective punishment against its population and to advance a process that will open the way for a political solution in Syria,” said the ministry.

April/07/2017

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