Thursday, October 27, 2011

Turkey FM: Assad following path Gaddafi once walked

26 October 2011, Wednesday / TODAY'S ZAMAN, ANKARA 

Turkey regrets seeing Syria following the same chaotic process that Libya went through, but Bashar al-Assad is brushing off friendly advice to step down, just like Muammar Gaddafi did when Turkey told him that Libyan unrest would bring about his demise, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told Turkish media over the last two days as he proceeded from a visit to Serbia to the Middle East.
“Our prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] was telling Gaddafi the same things he is telling Assad today; but I am afraid Syria is moving toward a similar period [as Libya],” Davutoğlu told the Star daily in an interview the paper published on Wednesday. Noting that Turkey had informed Gaddafi of what could and would eventually happen after he lost his grip over protests in Libya, Davutoğlu expressed his sorrow over the brutal killing of Gaddafi by his own people, as he dubbed what he saw in the footage of his death as “scenes that hurt our conscience.”

According to Davutoğlu, Turkey has tried hard to prevent a clash similar to what happened in Libya over the last few months from being repeated in Syria, but the calls have gone unanswered. “He [Erdoğan] told Assad to hold elections, and let the Syrian nation decide on the future of the country, but Assad does not listen, just like Gaddafi did not,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by Star.

The remarks from the foreign minister were the most recent from Turkey on Syria after a long break of contact with that country, as Turkish officials in the past repeatedly called on Assad to backpedal and go for democratic reforms and elections, but sharply cut down on efforts when Assad made clear he would not heed advice from other countries. “The process does not play out well for leaders who do not receive their power from their nation; once they lose political power, it is either jail or a grave that they end up in,” Davutoğlu commented in harsh words that noted how critical Turkey perceived the condition of leaders of the Arab Spring who resist change and the will of their people…

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