Turkish PM says Assad must go before any change in Turkey’s stance
AFP photoHours after saying Turkey needed to return to normal relations with Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said that for anything to change on the Turkish side regarding Syria, first Syrian President Bashar al-Assad needed to go.
“It is for sure that something needs to change in Syria but above all al-Assad must go first,” Yıldırım told BBC’s HARDtalk program.
“Without al-Assad changing, nothing will change in Turkey. The main reason things have come to this point is because of al-Assad,” he added.
Yıldırım’s remarks came hours after he told a group of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) provincial leaders in the capital Ankara on July 13 that he was “sure that we will return to normal relations with Syria as well.”
“We need that,” he also said.
Speaking to HARDtalk, Yıldırım said it was high time for things to change in Syria.
“On the one hand, there is al-Assad, on the other, there is Daesh. If you ask me if we should choose between al-Assad or Daesh, we cannot choose either of them. They both need to go,” said Yıldırım, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
He said that even if ISIL was expelled from Syria, the problems in the country would not be solved as al-Assad would still be in power and another terror organization would come into prominence.
“Therefore, it is the attitude of the al-Assad regime that creates Daesh; it is the regime he puts forth in Syria; it is that he sent even his own citizens to death,” Yıldırım said.