Turkey PM: Syria's Crackdown on Protests Is 'Savagery'

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggests that Turkey could support a UN Security Council decision against Syria.

Turkey's prime minister has described Syria's crackdown on protesters as "savagery" and accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of taking the situation "too lightly."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on ATV television late Thursday that some images coming out of Syria were "unpalatable" and suggested Turkey could support a UN Security Council decision against Syria.

turkey syria - AP - May 18 2011

His comments were carried by the Anatolia news agency Friday.

Erdogan, who has developed a friendship with Assad, had previously refrained from openly criticizing the 11-week long crackdown, urging the Syrian leader to enact reforms. The turnaround comes after some 2,500 Syrian refugees streamed into Turkey.

Erdogan said: "They are not acting in a humane manner. This is savagery."

The comments reflected Turkish frustration with Syria after weeks of attempts by Turkish officials to coax Syrian authorities into implementing democratic reforms.

Officials said the Turkish Red Crescent was setting up two new camps near the border, in addition to the one where refugees have already been placed.

On Friday, the Syrian army began operations in a restive northern town near the Turkish border, deploying troops and tanks.