What role Assad to get in transition?: Turkish FM asks

What role Assad to get in transition?: Turkish FM asks

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
What role Assad to get in transition: Turkish FM asks

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA photo

The most pertinent question regarding Syria’s bloody conflict is determining an appropriate position for President Bashar al-Assad during any possible transition, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, while claiming that the country’s leader has lost all legitimacy. Nearly the entire international community - including countries which support al-Assad - shares the common conviction that his government will eventually fall, Davutoğlu said Jan. 18.

 “Here, the matter which is essentially subject to disagreement is how and when this will happen and what will happen afterwards,” Davutoğlu said, responding to various questions in a meeting with Anatolia news agency’s “AA Editor Desk.”

The foreign minister said all countries were now taking pains to maintain a distance from al-Assad – something that had long been the case for Turkey.

“At the moment, nobody within the international community has the conviction that ‘the al-Assad regime will prevail and is legitimate,’” Davutoğlu said. “The point from which the basic problem and disagreement stems is this: What will the position of Assad be during the transition process after Brahimi’s latest contacts in Moscow and Damascus? How will the composition be formed?” he said, referring to visits by Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria, which took place last month.

During both visits, Brahimi reiterated proposals for transitional talks under “strong observation” by a new U.N. peacekeeping force but failed to convince either Moscow or Damascus on the matter.

As for the transition process, Davutoğlu said nobody “who has blood on his hands” should assume a place in any subsequent administration while claiming that the position was also shared by the Syrian people, Arab Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Tension in Iraq

Davutoğlu also expressed deep concerns over ongoing internal tension in neighboring Iraq that appears to be escalating.

Noting that Turkey had been consistently urging all parties to engage in dialogue to resolve the country’s problems, Davutoğlu used the opportunity to note that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared to have largely lost the confidence of his people.

The minister also said an order had been given for the transportation and treatment of Iraqis who were wounded in bomb attacks in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu earlier this week. As of late Jan. 18, 10 of the injured were to enter Turkey from the Habur border gate, he said.

The minister also touched on continuing tensions with Israel, reiterating that Turkey’s conditions for a normalization of relations following the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla raid were clear and sharp.

Earlier this week, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had said Israel was ready to send a letter like one Washington sent Islamabad over the 2011 killings of 24 Pakistani soldiers in an effort to mend ties with Turkey.

“We are waiting for an open and clear apology,” he said, dismissing Ayalon’s offer.

Paris killings

Davutoğlu also said solving the Jan. 9 murder of three Kurdish activists in Paris would be a great benefit to the country.

“By solving the issue, circles which support terrorism and which sometimes use terrorism as an instrument through actions involving internal executions will be revealed,” Davutoğlu said.