Turkey downplays Syrian president’s peace plan

Turkey downplays Syrian president’s peace plan

IZMIR - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey downplays Syrian president’s peace plan

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. DHA Photo

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s proposed peace plan for his country has nothing new and does not meet his people’s expectations, Turkey’s prime minister and foreign minister said, calling on the international community to take action in the U.N. Security Council.

“Unfortunately, it is obvious that al-Assad did not understand the demands of the Middle Eastern people, and failed to reach the hearts of Syrians. Pointing fingers at foreign forces could result in a demolition,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference following the Syrian president’s speech yesterday.

The minister likened elements of the Syrian president’s new peace plan to those Turkey proposed to al-Assad two years ago concerning reforms in his country. “He’s looking for responsibility in all the wrong places. His remarks are just a repetition of what he’s said all along. They are the same promises he made to us,” he said. Noting the nearly 60,000 Syrians that have been killed in the conflict, Davutoğlu said it is too late for al-Assad to promise such a plan after such destruction, and that it was impossible to make progress with empty promises and a rejection of the Syrian opposition, which the entire world recognizes.

‘No right to intervene’

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also denounced messages given by Damascus and said it was up to the Syrian people to decide on the future of the country. “We have no right to intervene in a decision to be given by the people of Syria [on the country’s future]. I think not any foreign country should have such a right to intervene,” Erdoğan said yesterday, just hours before al-Assad was to make his speech.
According to the foreign minister, al-Assad’s speech shows how distant he is from reality. “It seems he’s locked himself in a room and only reads the intelligence reports,” Davutoğlu said, adding that Turkey’s stance will support what the Syrian people want to take place and that al-Assad no longer has the “representative authority; his words have lost persuasiveness.”

A transition period needs to be completed swiftly through talks with representatives of the Syrian nation for a political solution, Davutoğlu said. “If al-Assad will not do anything new, then the U.N. Security Council must decide on a stance on the situation in Syria. The first decision needs to be made on distributing aid to Syrians,” he said. “A clear message has to be sent to tell al-Assad that he should not stand in the way of aid distribution.”