‘Dialogue with Syria of no use given its non-commitment to peace’

Ahmet Davutoğlu (Photo: Reuters)

April 19, 2012, Thursday/ 00:50:00

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has insisted that Turkey refuse to enter into dialogue with the Syrian regime for as long as it fails to keep its promises to fully implement a cease-fire.

“There is no political contact with Syria at the moment. Activities of our embassy in Damascus have been suspended. We do not believe that dialogue with Syria will be of any benefit until Syria fulfills its promises,” said Davutoğlu on his way to Brussels to attend NATO's annual defense and foreign ministers meeting.

The foreign minister also dismissed suggestions that the Syrian crisis has become an issue between Turkey and the Syrian government. “This is not a Turkey-Syria issue. This is an issue between the Syrian government and the Syrian people. And we feel the impact of it,” he said. Davutoğlu also said that the Syrian crisis is a regional and international problem that concerns all countries in the region.

He elaborated that “25,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey, 100,000 have fled to Jordan and an unknown number of refugees have crossed the border with Lebanon.” He said the Syrian crisis is an international issue given that the UN Security Council has also passed a resolution on the matter.

Davutoğlu indicated that at the NATO meeting, Turkey will brief the participating ministers on recent developments along its border with Syria.

The foreign minister acknowledged that Turkey’s borders are protected by NATO under the relevant articles of the alliance’s treaty but dismissed the prospect of a NATO intervention to protect Turkish borders against a possible Syrian violation, saying the Syrian crisis is now a matter for the UN, not NATO.

Noting that the Turkish-Syrian border is being closely watched by the Turkish government, Davutoğlu pointed out that all attempts are being made by the Turkish government to stop the risk of fire along the border and any further movement of terrorist groups across Turkish borders.

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