Şahin, Karman trade barbs on Syrian crisis

Şahin, Karman trade barbs on Syrian crisis

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Şahin, Karman trade barbs on Syrian crisis

Minister Şahin (2nd R), Erdoğan (L) and Karman (C) attend the conference.

An Istanbul Forum panel at moderated by Sümeyye Erdoğan, the daughter of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on leadership and women in the Middle East organized by Center for Strategic Communication (STRATİM) yesterday turned into an exchange of views on Turkey’s role in the Syrian crisis.

“Women are suffering in Syria. We need to support their struggle, Syria needs you,” Tawakkul Karman, a 2011 Nobel peace laureate, told Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin.

“We are helping the thousands of Syrian women and children who are coming to Turkey,” Şahin responded, adding that she is a deputy from Gaziantep, a city near the Syrian border. But she complained about the lack of support from the international community.

“Turkey has not done enough to help its neighbor. Yes, on the humanitarian side, you did a lot and thank you. But people continue to die in Syria and the country with the most responsibility to support Syria is Turkey. It is in the national interest of Turkey,” Karman said.

Buffer zone

Karman has also called on the Turkish government to form a buffer zone in Syria. “If Turkey moves to help women and children in Syria the world will follow it. I am not asking for military intervention. But a buffer zone is very important. I am calling on the people in Turkey to put pressure on the government.”

“I can understand her outcry as a woman and mother and share it,” Şahin responded, “but Turkey got NATO to meet in one night and got a condemnation decision. It quickly got a motion from Parliament [giving the authority to the government to send its soldiers to Syria], this shows Turkey’s clear cut stance. Syria’s other neighbors should also show similar sensitivities. One can’t just ask one country to act alone. We stand with the people of Syria despite everything.”