‘Turkey must put an end to Syria threats’

‘Turkey must put an end to Syria threats’

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
‘Turkey must put an end to Syria threats’

Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu seen in this photo. AA photo

Turkey’s main opposition has called on the government to stop “threatening” Syria over a deadly crackdown on anti-regime protestors, arguing that President Bashar al-Assad should be unseated through democratic means and not foreign meddling.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chairman Faruk Loğoğlu condemned weekend attacks on Turkey’s diplomatic missions in Syria and warned that such action against premises considered as Turkish territory could lead to “very heavy consequences” for Syria. He denounced Assad for going down the “wrong path” and wasting “numerous opportunities” to introduce reform and end the bloodshed.

Loğoğlu, however, warned that Ankara’s policy of “taking sides” in the turmoil was exacerbating the tensions and might eventually plunge Turkey into a conflict with its southern neighbor.

“Turkey must stop being a country that is constantly threatening Syria. Turkey must stop taking sides in Syria’s internal unrest. If we continue with such statements, one day we could be forced to carry out these threats and may come easily to the point of conflict with Syria,” he said.

“If you follow Europe and the United States in making Assad’s removal a policy by itself, then you are dooming Syria to internal conflict. You are telling the people of Syria to solve the issue through violence and bloodshed,” he said. “If the internal conflict grows in Syria, Turkey’s interests, its national security, and the entire region will face very serious problems.”

Opposition lawmakers also questioned the government’s policy on Syria at Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, which convened yesterday to debate the Foreign Ministry’s 2012 budget.

CHP deputy Osman Korutürk likened Turkey’s close ties with the Syrian opposition to the support that Damascus had given in the past to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He also questioned whether agreements inked with Syria during the two countries’ recently flourishing bilateral ties were still valid.

Mehmet Günal of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) urged the government to explain how it “has come to a position of interfering in Syria’s domestic affairs [so] soon after joint Cabinet meetings were held.”

The MHP’s Tuğrul Türkeş, meanwhile, said Ankara was neglecting the plight of the Turkmens in Iraq, claiming that a spate of abductions of Turkmen doctors, teachers and businessmen had cost the community a total of $4 million paid in ransom since August.

“I’m afraid the situation will get even more dramatic in January” after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, he said.