Turkey: All options against Syria on the table

Turkey: All options against Syria on the table

Ahmet Davutoğlu (Photo: AA)

February 26, 2012, Sunday/ 19:24:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, commenting on the international conference on Syria held in Tunis last week, has said the international community debated all possible courses of action for ending the ongoing violence in the neighboring country, including the possibility of a military intervention.

Wrapping up talks after the first meeting of the Friends of Syria in Tunisia on Friday, Davutoğlu said Turkey would take part in international initiatives against the Syrian regime. He added, “All possible scenarios, including military intervention, have been discussed by a number of countries as a solution [to ending the bloodshed] in Syria.”

“Even though Turkey does not want to see Syria in a situation similar to the Libyan civil war [following the NATO intervention in 2011], the upcoming period in Syria poses many risks for the region,” Davutoğlu continued, adding that Turkey should be prepared for any possible decisions made by the international community.

“The international community should not hold back from taking initiatives to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Syria, even though the UN Security Council has been blocked from providing a solution due to Russia and China’s vetoes,” Davutoğlu said. The Feb. 4 decision by Russia and China to veto a UN resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside angered the international community.

Davutoğlu highlighted that Turkey has started to strongly voice its opinions on diplomatic issues over the last decade after taking a back seat on regional and global issues in the past, including the Minsk process, an Azerbaijani-Armenian reconciliation process over Nagorno-Karabakh; the Dayton peace process, reconciling Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and talks on the future of Iraq in the post-Saddam Hussein period. “Turkey has started pulling its diplomatic weight in the international arena. Turkey will have a say in regional and global issues, including Somalia and Syria.”

During an international conference in London over the future of Somalia on Feb. 23, Turkish aid initiatives in the East African country were lauded. Turkey will host the second conference on the famine and terrorism-stricken country in June. Davutoğlu also said the second Friends of Syria meeting will take place in Turkey, while a third is planned to take place in France. Turkey, along with Tunisia and France, chaired Friday’s meeting on Syria’s political and humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser hailed Turkey’s stabilizing role, claiming it has acted as a peaceful negotiator with regard to regional conflicts, during a joint press conference with Davutoğlu, which followed a UN-backed conference on the peaceful mediation of international disputes in İstanbul on Saturday.

 “The conference in Tunisia is the first step to ending the bloodshed in Syria, as the UN has been rendered ineffective due to the current polarization in the Security Council,” Nasser added in remarks that paralleled Davutoğlu’s.

The Friends of Syria conference held in Tunisia on Feb. 24 gathered together countries supporting the Arab League’s position and calling for a democratic transition in Syria. The United States, EU governments, Arab League countries and Turkey were all represented by delegations at the conference.

According to Reuters, Assad’s forces have intensified their crackdown on the 11-month revolt against four decades of Assad family rule. They have been shelling rebel-held areas of Homs for 20 straight days, killing hundreds and gutting buildings.

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