Turkey accuses Syria of violating border, considers response
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a business meeting in China. (Photo: AA)
10 April 2012 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH AP, ANKARA
Turkey's prime minister has accused Syria of infringing its border and says his country is considering what steps to take in response, including measures “we don't want to think about.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking to reporters during a visit to China on Tuesday, a day after Syrian forces opened fire across the border, killing two people in a refugee camp. Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Erdoğan as saying Turkey would assess the situation and take steps accordingly.
“What should Turkey do in the event of a border violation? Turkey will eventually do what other countries would do in accordance with international law. This is a right granted to us by the international law,” Erdoğan said.
Recalling that Turkey is hosting some 25,000 Syrian people who fled violence in their country, Erdoğan said Turkey can never close its doors to the Syrian people even if this number reaches 100,000. “You are seeing how these people are escaping [from Syria] on some international television channels. These people are not fleeing out of fancy. They are fleeing death. You cannot close your doors to these people,” the prime minister said.
“They [Syrian soldiers] are even shooting fleeing people in the back. They are mercilessly shooting regardless of whether they are women or children. Look, he [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] gave a promise to Mr. [Kofi] Annan, but 60, 70, 80, 100 people are still being killed a day since then. Additionally, now there is a clear border violation. This is clear. We will also make a necessary assessment with regards to this border violation. Our diplomacy is continuing with neighboring countries and we will, of course, take the necessary steps,” he added.
His remarks come on the last day of a deadline when Assad was to withdraw his forces from population centers under an internationally brokered truce. The cease-fire deal hammered out by UN-Arab League envoy Annan was widely seen as the last chance for diplomacy, and its apparent collapse could push Syria even closer to an all-out civil war.
A 13-month uprising against Assad's regime has turned increasingly militarized in response to a brutal regime crackdown. The fighting is also threatening to spill across Syria's borders, raising the risk of a regional conflagration.
“We will see whether the Syrian administration will keep its promise to Mr. Annan or not today. What we want, as a country which has a nine to 10-kilometer-long border with Syria and close relations with the Syrian people, is an end to the bloodshed and deaths in Syria. This is what we want. We could not tell this to the Syrian regime. They did not want to understand this,” he said.
Erdoğan recalled that Annan will visit refugee camps in southern Turkey later on Tuesday to observe the situation. He said Annan decided to visit the refugee camps upon Turkey's insistence. “We hope, this visit leads to a new approach to the situation,” Erdoğan added.
Results 1 to 7 of 7
11-Apr-2012 12:00 AM
The Following User Says Thank You to At-Ta'if For This Useful Post:
11-Apr-2012 12:20 AM
Turkey's Davutoğlu cuts short China trip over Syria crisis
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will cut short an official trip to China and fly home today after Syrian forces fired shots into a refugee camp across the border, a report said.
Davutoğlu, who was accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will not join the Shanghai leg of the trip and instead return to Turkey later in the day, reported the Anatolia news agency.
Hurriyet Daily NewsO you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh as just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mā'idah: 8)
11-Apr-2012 12:22 PMO you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh as just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mā'idah: 8)
11-Apr-2012 12:42 PM
Towards a Turkish-Syrian bilateral conflict?
I think it’s very timely to recall one of the Atatürk’s maxims on peace and war: “I hold no brief for war for this or that reason. War should be obligatory and unavoidable. Here is my real opinion: I should not suffer torment in my conscience when I lead my nation to war. We can go to war only in order not to be killed by those who want to kill. But if the nation’s life is not in danger, then the war is murder.”
It’s important to underline that these lines belong to one of the greatest commanders in the world who spent nearly half of his life on battle grounds. Following the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Atatürk determined the country’s main foreign policy pillar with his famous saying: “Peace at home, peace in the world.”
The reason for revisiting these fundamental principles of traditional Turkish foreign policy is obviously the government’s stance vis a vis the Syria turmoil. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement that the country could follow a different track on Syria if border violations continue is enough to raise question marks in minds about Turkey’s next steps.
The fact that Erdoğan is planning to travel to Saudi Arabia in the coming days to orchestrate further measures to be taken against Damascus in the event of Bashar al-Assad’s failure to comply with the Annan plan clearly shows that the prime minister is rolling up his sleeves against Syria. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu contacted all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to ask them to denounce Syrian forces’ border violations. If possible, he is also expected to attend to the G-8 summit in Washington where the main course will obviously be Syria.
The Sanctions’ Working Group of the Friends of Syria is likely to meet in the coming days in Paris, which will be followed by third summit of the group late April, again in France. In the meantime, more pressure is expected to be imposed on Russia and China to get out of the way.
This is the multilateral part of the issue. The escalated tension on the Turkish-Syrian border, which caused the killing of two Syrian migrants crossing the Turkish border is adding further concerns.
Syria is trying to show that if Turkey establishes a buffer zone in Syrian territory the first thing they will encounter will be Syrian forces. As buffer zone plans require a military presence, it would not be unreasonable to expect a military clash between Turkish and Syrian forces.
That’s why Washington is urging the Turkish government not to act unilaterally and realize that such plans could make the situation much more complicated. Turkey should be careful not to turn the turmoil in Syria into a Turkish-Syrian bilateral conflict. Syria is an international problem and means to deal with it should be found in a legitimate and multilateral way.
Hurriyet Daily News
11-Apr-2012 01:56 PMO you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh as just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mā'idah: 8)
11-Apr-2012 02:35 PM
11-Apr-2012 02:51 PM