Turkish FM Davutoğlu hits back to Syria’s accusations of backing ‘terrorism’
United States Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu in Montreux, Switzerland, Jan. 22. AP photoForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has hit back at Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem’s accusations during the U.N. peace conference in Montreux that Turkey is “backing terrorism.”
“We all know who the terrorists in Syria are. I wonder how the representatives of the regime think they can deceive the entire international community with their lies,” Davutoğlu told reporters on the sidelines of the peace conference in Switzerland on Jan. 22.
“I don’t even intend to say anything in response to those who are so shameless after all their heinous crimes against their own people. History will judge them very badly,” he said after a meeting with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry.
Earlier, al-Muallem had accused the West and neighboring countries, including Turkey, of funneling money, weapons and foreign fighters to the “terrorist” rebellion.
He then singled out Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the main person responsible of the
conflict, warning that his backing for the opposition could backlash.
“All of this would not have happened if it had not been for Erdoğan; they did not know that magic would turn against the magician one day. Terrorism has no religion,” al-Muallem said.
Davutoğlu said the recent revelation of the execution of 11,000 detainees through torture could not remain “without punishment.”
“There is a systematic violence. We have not seen such pictures showing such horrible torture since [the] Nuremberg [trials]. These are crimes against humanity and those who commit them should be punished,” he said, urging the international community to act on the reports.
Davutoğlu also assured that Turkey would continue to operate an open-door policy with regard to around 700,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the country’s ongoing civil war.
“From now on, one more life lost is too many, negotiations cannot be open-ended,” he said.
The Turkish foreign minister also dismissed rumors that Kerry held a tête-à-tête meeting with al-Muallem, saying “he did not mention such a meeting.”
Syria’s government and opposition met for the first time in Montreux after difficult negotiations, but there is little sign that any party is ready to make concessions.
Western officials said they were taken aback by the combative tone adopted by al-Muallem, who also defied U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s plea to shorten his speech. Some diplomats have questioned whether the negotiations can continue.
The talks reflect mounting global concern that a war that has killed over 130,000 and left millions homeless is spilling beyond Syria and fuelling sectarian militancy abroad.