Turkey has lost faith in Syria: Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan

Turkey has lost faith in Syria: Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Turkey has lost faith in Syria: Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures while addressing members of Parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the parliament in Ankara, on November 15, 2011. AFP Photo

Turkey has abandoned hope that Syria will respond to international demands to halt violence and initiate democratic reforms, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today.

"We no longer expect the Assad government to show honest, persuasive, brave and determined leadership," Erdoğan told his party's lawmakers. "No one expects him to respond to the demands of the international community anymore." Erdogan, once a close political ally and a personal friend of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, has for months expressed frustration at Assad's failure to listen to his people.

"The Syrian government is on a very dangerous and narrow path, like the edge of a knife," he told the weekly meeting. "It is our common desire for him to turn back from this path, which has a cliff at the end." Erdoğan slammed Assad over weekend attacks on Turkey's diplomatic missions in three Syrian cities.

"It is the honour of every country to protect foreign citizens and diplomats. Syria should understand that trying to send a message through those attacks shows weakness and ignorance," he said.

Thousands of pro-regime protestors armed with knives and batons attacked Turkish diplomatic missions in the Syrian capital Damascus as well as Aleppo and Latakia on Saturday over Turkey's support for an Arab League decision to suspend Syria.

Around 5,000 demonstrators smashed the windows of Turkey's honorary consulate building in Latakia and burned a Turkish flag.

Turkey hailed the Arab League decision as "timely and one of common sense." On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met with representatives of the Syrian opposition movement, the Syrian National Council, which was founded in Turkey in August.

The council, the country's largest and most representative opposition grouping, sought permission to set up an office in Turkey. A Turkish diplomat who declined to be named said Ankara was considering the request.