'Those who seek to preserve their dictatorship disrupted our peace', Turkish PM says in Reyhanlı
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused May 25 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of being involved in carrying out the deadly attacks in Reyhanlı that killed 51 two weeks ago, during his visit to the southern Hatay province town along the Syrian border.
"Those who live right next to us are not ordinary [people]. The ones who are trying to conserve their reign, to continue their dictatorship are disrupting our peace," Erdoğan told the crowd, adding that his own government had established very close ties with Syria through a number of agreements. "However these agreements have been disregarded and the bonds of brotherhood between us have been trampled on. By whom? By the dictator al-Assad."
Erdoğan also said the end of the Syrian regime was close. "God willing the opposition forces will topple this dictator. I am addressing to my brothers in Syria: God's help will come soon."
'Seeds of sedition'
The Turkish prime minister denounced some groups of sowing seeds of sedition, especially in Reyhanlı, where during the last month tension peaked between locals and Syrian refugees according to many reports. Erdoğan invoked the term "ansar," which means "helper" and refers the Arabs who helped the followers of the Prophet Muhammad escape from Mecca to Medina.
"This people has always been an 'ansar' to the oppressed. The around 300,000 refugees did not come to Turkey for their pleasure. They came fearing death. Those who are not being 'ansar' are trying to sow seeds of discord," he said, requesting support for the Syrian refugees.
"I have a plea for you: Those who came here from Syria are my brothers and your brothers. Don't ever tell them something negative so that they go from here. My brother in Reyhanlı would never do that, only those who don't respect people would do that," he said.
Erdoğan also said neither the government nor the state had abandoned Reyhanlı after the attacks. "I will come back again soon. Don't forget that if I had come at the moment of the [bombings], it would have been interpreted differently. There are those who abuse these things. But my deputy prime minister and three ministers came here. The president [Abdullah Gül] also paid a visit," he said, adding that modern infrastructure would be rebuilt in the town. "We will overcome the difficulties."
Gül visited the town May 16, five days after the attack. Turkish authorities had said that the prime suspects in the attack had close links with the Syrian intelligence agency, al-Mukhabarat. Eighteen people were detained, 12 of whom were arrested during the investigation.