Turkey mulls UN action on Damascus

Turkey mulls UN action on Damascus

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey pressed the United Nations Security Council to take action on Syria should the country fail to implement the Annan peace plan. Turkey also joined efforts to increase pressure on Russia to convince the Syrian regime to implement the plan, as well as persuade the country not to veto or abstain from voting on an eventual resolution.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to telephone Russian leaders when he returns from China. Following Erdoğan’s talks in Beijing, Turkish officials have said that in contrast to Russia, China was moderating its position on the crisis.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was scheduled to participate via teleconference in a G8 meeting held last night in Washington to convey Turkey’s view on the Syrian crisis. The foreign minister cut short his visit to China and returned to Ankara where he held a meeting on the recent Syrian border shootings. Ankara described the incident, in which Syrian forces fired shots across the border into a refugee camp on Turkish soil, as a “border violation.”

Speaking in a televised interview yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said if the peace plan outlined by Kofi Annan did not work, the U.N. Security Council would have no excuse not to take action, and it would be difficult to veto any resolutions proposed. Turkey will not allow cross-border fire on the Syrian people who have sought shelter in Turkish territory, the minister said, citing the April 9 incident in which Syrian troops fired across the border into Turkey. Turkish officials have fine-tuned Erdoğan’s earlier remarks which claimed Turkey could take measures for a military intervention in Syria.

Atalay said an armed, cross-border intervention was extreme, but that Turkey wanted to take joint action with the international community. Erdoğan’s most recent warning to Damascus should not be immediately taken as a sign of impending military action, said Hüseyin Çelik, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Çelik said Ankara wanted to continue using diplomatic channels until the end.

Call to UN

In a statement late Tuesday, Turkey urged the U.N. Security Council to take swift measures to protect the Syrian people, saying Damascus had failed to comply with the conditions of the peace plan. “The U.N. Security Council’s Presidential Statement stipulates the condition that the Syrian Regime must fulfill all of its commitments as pledged to Mr. Annan, 48 hours prior to April 12, the date on which violence in all its forms should be brought to an end in its entirety. Since this has not occurred, we urgently expect the Security Council to adopt a resolution that will also incorporate the necessary measures to provide for the protection of the Syrian people,” the foreign ministry said in a statement late April 10.