Turkey tells Assad to punish 'murderers' of opposition

Turkey tells Assad to punish 'murderers' of opposition

ANKARA - Agence France- Presse
Turkey tells Assad to punish murderers of opposition

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA Photo

Turkey urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday to punish the "murderers" of anti-regime protesters and accept observers proposed by the Arab League.

"If he (Assad) is now sincere, he will immediately punish the murderers and accept Arab League observers. He still has such an opportunity," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters.

His comments were in response to a question about a rare interview with Assad in which the Syrian leader said he was not responsible for the months-long bloodshed, drawing a distinction between himself and the military.

Davutoğlu said Assad's remarks were a kind of "confession".

"He now accepts that security forces might have made a mistake," said Davutoglu. "I wish he had said this in April." Assad told veteran ABC News interviewer Barbara Walters this week that security forces belonged to "the government" and not him personally.

"We don't kill our people," Assad said. "No government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."