Erdoğan, addressing a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said his government was pessimistic about prospects that a cease-fire imposed since April 12 under the UN plan will be upheld, but added that Turkey will wait to see how developments unfold in Syria.
Turkey insists Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power after a year-long uprising against his rule while the UN plan, named after UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan who drafted it, does not call for Assad's ouster. The Syrian government has openly accused Turkey of trying to undermine the peace plan by aiding and arming the opposition fighters. Ankara has said it supports Annan's efforts.
“Delaying [solutions to] the problem in Syria will only give the regime more time for new acts of brutality,” Erdoğan said. “The Syrian regime is using stalling tactics. Even though we have no hope for the cease-fire, we will wait, continue to closely follow the developments and bring Syria to the attention of the international community.”
He said Turkey was cautious about the cease-fire because of Syria's failures in the past to keep its promises and that the latest reports coming from the country proved Turkish caution right.
‘Turkish journalists held captive'
Erdoğan also accused the Syrian regime of treating two Turkish journalists that went missing in Syria last month as “captives.”
“They have not been released even though they are journalists. The Syrian regime should account for this,” he said.
Adem Özköse, a reporter from the İstanbul-based Gerçek Hayat magazine and the Milat daily, arrived with Hamit Coşkun, a cameraman, in Syria on March 5. They were last heard from on March 10. Reports that they are being held by the Syrian intelligence have not been officially confirmed.