Turkey FM issues 'final words' calling on Syria to halt violent crackdowns
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tells Assad military operations against Syrians must stop 'immediately and unconditionally'.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday that military operations against civilians must end immediately and unconditionally, warning him that these were Ankara's "final words".
"This is our final word to the Syrian authorities, our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally," Davutoglu told a news conference.
"If these operations do not stop there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken," he said, without elaborating.
Turkish leaders, who had backed Assad in the past, have repeatedly urged him to end violence and make reforms after street protests against his 11 years in power erupted five months ago.
Davutoglu’s statement comes just days after the Turkish "Hurriyet" newspaper reported that Turkey may consider cooperating with international powers in the event they decide to intervene militarily in Syria.
According to the report, the Turkish foreign minister made it clear to Assad that in the event that Syrian forces continue to act aggressively against demonstrators Syria will no longer be able to rely on friendship from Turkey.
Turkish officials told the Hurriyet that “Turkey had initially tried to convince its Western allies to grant Assad time to implement reforms eight months ago. We have been as friendly toward Syria as we could, but a regime that doesn’t listen to advice from its friend and neighbor cannot be a friend of Turkey’s.”