Turkish PM calls on ‘coward’ Assad to quit


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday urged Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down, branding him a coward and warning that he risked the same bloody fate as had met other dictators.
In his fiercest criticism yet of his one-time ally, Erdogan also ridiculed Assad for pledging to fight to the death against domestic opponents while being unwilling to risk his life to retake the occupied Golan Heights from Israel. “Quit power before more blood is shed … for the peace of your people, your region and your country,” Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in Ankara.
After weeks of mounting criticism of the Syrian president, it was the first time the Turkish premier had directly called for his removal from power. He is the second leader of a neighbouring country to do so, after Jordan’s King Abdullah last week called on Assad to go. “Bashar al-Assad is saying he will fight to the death. Fighting your own people … is not heroism but cowardice,” Erdogan said, referring to a recent interview with Assad published by the Sunday Times in London. “If you want to see someone who fought and died, take at look at Nazi Germany, take a look at Hitler, take a look at Mussolini and Romania’s Ceausescu,” he said.
Adolf Hitler died in his bunker as Allied forces closed in on Berlin, wartime Italian leader Benito Mussolini was strung up from a lamppost by an angry mob and Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was executed by firing squad on Christmas Day 1989. If the Syrian leader had failed to learn lessons from history, Erdogan invited him to consider the more recent fate of Libya’s late strongman Muammar Gaddafi who was executed by his opponents after being chased from power. Erdogan insisted that Turkey had no intention of interfering in Syria’s domestic affairs but added “we cannot remain indifferent” to what happens in a neighbouring country with which Turkey shares a 910-kilometre border.
Turkey has become increasingly vocal in its criticism of Assad after its diplomatic missions came under attack by pro-government demonstrators in several Syrian cities earlier this month. In his first official remarks confirming the attack, Erdogan said: “The Syrian administration did not prevent the attack on buses carrying pilgrims,” accusing Damascus of failing to protect its citizens. “Protecting citizens of a foreign country … is a matter of honour for a country,” said Erdogan.
He called on the Syrian leadership to find the perpetrators of the attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions as well as the pilgrims and “deliver them to justice at once.” Turkey last week joined the Arab League at a meeting in Morocco in calling on the Assad regime “to stop the bloodshed and to spare Syrian citizens from new acts of violence and killing”. In an interview with The Guardian published on Tuesday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who is on an official visit to Britain, said Assad had reached a “dead end.”


  1. Someone tell this Erdogang to chill. If he is right about "we cannot remain indifferent” to what happens in a neighboring country …" then Iraq should march into southern Turkey.

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