I am all with Syrian opposition: Turkish PM Erdoğan
DAILY NEWS Photo, Selahattin SönmezPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again thrown his backing behind the Syrian opposition while criticizing the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for siding with the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Responding to criticisms that the government was taking a warmongering stance on Syria, the prime minister lashed out at the CHP. “Where were you when 110,000 people were killed in Syria? Where were you at when 7 million people were displaced? Historical artifacts, mosques, sanctuaries, tombs have been destroyed, where were you? Kids, women, mothers, fathers have been massacred, where were you?” Erdoğan asked emotionally.
“The ones who did not speak against one of the biggest tragedies of humanity, and even slapping al-Assad’s back, now accuse us of warmongering, without shame. The main opposition sides with the regime and we stand by the opposition, the oppressed and suffering. This is our difference,” Erdoğan told a meeting of the All Industrialist and Businessmen Association (TÜMSİAD) yesterday in Istanbul.
‘Death is death’
The prime minister said the number of deaths in the war-torn country had reached 110,000. “Death is death. It is not important which weapon – chemical or not – was used. We should put all the weapons used in Syria in the same category. The Syrian regime should pay the cost of these atrocities to humanity,” Erdoğan said, adding that the open door policy of Turkey would continue.
The prime minister also said he doubted whether President Bashar al-Assad would fulfill his pledge to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, accusing him of buying time for new “massacres.”
“The al-Assad regime has not lived up to any of its pledges, it has won time for new massacres and continues to do so,” Erdoğan said. “We are doubtful whether the promises regarding chemical weapons will be met.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also voiced his skepticism. “Unfortunately U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks on surrendering chemical weapons removed the possibility of an intervention,” Arınç told private broadcaster NTV.
“We are not banging the drums of war. But something had to be done against a tyrannical administration that is responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people, that has used ballistic missiles and now chemical weapons,” he said. “Kerry’s remarks served Russia and al-Assad. The United States couldn’t back out of it, and to me, it was a big gaffe.”