Syrian Turkmen should make their voices heard to have representation: Erdoğan
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
The Turkish prime minister made a speech during the establishment meeting of the Syria Turkmen assembly in Ankara, March 30. AA photoTurkey will not keep silent regarding the oppression that Syrian Turkmens are exposed to, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during the establishment meeting of the Syria Turkmen assembly in Ankara March 30.
"The Syrian Turkmen should take part in broad and inclusive platforms that can make their voices heard so that they acquire the place they deserve as one of the constituting [peoples] in a democratic Syria. That's why I support the establishment of an assembly that is expected to be the voice and the inner conscience of Syrian Turkmen," he said, vowing Ankara's full assistance for their work. "Your problems are our problems," he said.
The Turkish prime minister said it was very important for the Turkmen to have representation in a new Cabinet following the eventual fall of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Erdoğan also noted that such an assembly could reinforce the awareness among Turkmen people of constituting a political group and set an important precedent for similar associations in the region. "I believe that if Syrian Turkmen manage to work together their place among the opposition will be strengthened."
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who also attended the meeting, advised Syrian Turkmen to forget the past and start making plans for the future. "Whatever conflict you have between yourselves, keep your unity. If you don't, you won't get what you deserve." He said the Syrian Turkmen population was a part of Syria's makeup. "You have lived [in Syria] for centuries, and you will stay until the apocalypse. No one can snatch the Syrian Turkmen away from Syria."
The number of Turkmen living in Syria differs between sources. Some sources put the number around 200,000, while others claim that there are more than 750,000 Turkmen living near Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs and Hama.