Premier vows to pray in Damascus mosque ‘soon’

Premier vows to pray in Damascus mosque ‘soon’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Premier vows to pray in Damascus mosque ‘soon’

Damaged buildings are seen in Homs following months of battles between rebel and Syrian government forces. AFP photo

The Syrian crisis continues to lead rhetoric among Turkish politicians, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again accusing main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of siding with the Baath regime over the Syrian people, in a speech Aug. 5.

“The CHP will not dare to go to Damascus tomorrow, you will see it. But we will go there in the shortest possible time, if Allah wills it; and embrace our brothers. That day is close. We will pray near the grave of Salahaddin Ayyubi and pray in the Umayyad Mosque. We will pray for our brotherhood freely in Hejaz Railway Station,” Erdoğan said, speaking at an extended group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), held at the party’s headquarters.

Our FM turned the UN into a wailing wall: Kılıçdaroğlu

Erdoğan denounced the CHP’s recent criticism of the Apaydın camp, which is known to house military personnel who have defected from the Syrian army to join the opposition. Describing CHP’s attitude towards the refugee camps as “rude and ill-favored,” Erdoğan said: “They keep on and on, mentioning the camp where military refugees and families are staying, because they are the spokespersons of the murderer al-Assad. ... When they were invited to visit the camp, they did not go there with the members of the [Parliament’s Human Rights Examination] Commission, because [the CHP’s] aim is to provoke the people and create suspicion. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, this nation will not allow the CHP to promote the Baath Party or to cause sectarian provocations.”

The Ottoman Empire also accepted refugees at various times, Erdoğan said, asking, “We are the grandsons of these ancestors. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, whose grandson are you? I don’t know.”

Kılıçdaroğlu for his part continued to criticize the government’s foreign policy regarding Syria, suggesting that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has used the U.N. as a “wailing wall,” and indicating that the government is not capable of dealing with the Syrian crisis.

“They pompously said that Turkey is the leader of its region. But look at our situation. Our foreign minister has turned the U.N. into a wailing wall. Does this befit the foreign minister of Turkey? I cannot accept this. The people do not accept this either,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, in a speech delivered at a meeting of the heads of provincial CHP women’s branches.

The CHP has been critical of the government’s Syria policy since the very beginning of the conflict, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “We prepared a resolution project and drew a roadmap [for ending the Syrian conflict] but they accused us of acting unethically. We urged them to correct their mistakes, but they did not.” k HDN