Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu voices support for Syrian people
Ankara, Turkey ( Anadolu Agency + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said his country will continue to support Syrians against the Bashar al-Assad regime, Russia, Iran and Daesh.
In an interview with Al Jazeera English television early Tuesday, Davutoglu said: “We will not let our Syrian brothers and sisters to be at the mercy of this barbaric regime, or Daesh, or Russia or Iran or other forces”.
About criticism that Turkey did nothing except condemn the situation in Syria, he said: “If the Syrian people are still there, defending their land, it is because of our support and we will continue to support them. So, we are not just condemning, we are supporting them”.
The premier reiterated that Turkey hosts about 2.6 million refugees.
“We will keep these people as far as we can in the Syrian territories and help them there but if they want to come or there is a danger of life, we will never close the border,” Davutoglu said.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
More than 250,000 victims have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.
“Turkey will be doing everything for Syrian brothers and sisters without asking for any assistance from anywhere for refugees as well as for heroic people of Syria,” he said.
“All Syrians who are raising their voice against aggression by the regime, by terrorist [group] like the YPG, Daesh and foreign forces who are invading Syria today like Russia and Iran, Turkey will support the civil forces in Syria. I am sure at the end of the day, patriotic people of Syria [will] win,” he added.
Cease-fire in Syria
Davutoglu said Turkey wants peace in Syria.
“There is no other country more affected by this crisis than Turkey,” he said. About talk of cease-fire in Syria, the premier said he was not “optimistic” because until now negotiations were being misused by the regime, Russia and Iran.
“I have to be frank. If they continue to have same attitude talking [to] one side to gain time and attacking civilians and Syrian people on the other side, this initiative cannot be successful. If they are serious, we will see,” he said.
About the recent bombing in Ankara, the prime minister said: “This is an attack not only against Turkey, this is an attack against humanity. It is a very sad event and shows the barbaric character of terrorist groups”.
The PYD and its armed wing the YPG are seen as terrorist organizations by Turkey, which has accused the group of siding with Bashar al-Assad regime as well as being behind Wednesday’s car bomb attack in Ankara that killed 28 and wounded 61 people.
“It is a combined effort of YPG and PKK,” he said.
According to Turkish authorities, a Syrian national named Salih Necar was the suicide attacker involved in the blast.
“What we have found out, the person came to Turkey in 2014…He later cooperated with PKK elements. They provided him the car, the bombs and the rest,” Davutoglu said.
Fourteen people suspected of involvement in the attack were jailed Sunday to await their trial.
About criticisms that Turkey is failing to protects its people, Davutoglu said: “No, those who are criticizing us should not forget that around Turkey there are six countries which are not able to control whole territory.
“Those who made this attack against our people will pay the price…But, how and when, we will decide,” he added.
Relations with Russia
When Davutoglu was asked how Turkey is going to settle the conflict with Russia, he said: “First of all, we are not responsible for this conflict”.
Ties between Moscow and Ankara became strained since Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian warplane on Nov. 24 near the Turkey-Syria border. Since then Russia has announced a number of sanctions against Turkey.
Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey reserved the right to defend its border. “This was not an intentional attack against Russia.
“We want to improve our relations with Russia. Until now, we are very careful not to harm relations more. But unfortunately, Russian side escalated the tensions. They even made more heavy bombardments on our border side which created humanitarian tragedy. It is up to Russians. We are ready and offered them to have a joint commission to discuss all these matters. They did not accept,” he said.
Since Sept. 30 last year, Russia — a close ally of the Assad regime — targeted a number of civilian areas in Syria, according to U.S. officials.
While the Kremlin says the airstrikes hit positions held by the Daesh militant group, some members of the western NATO alliance say Russia is targeting moderate opposition groups opposed to Assad.