After attending the UN’s Rio+20 summit, Erdoğan had a private meeting with the host country’s president in Rio de Janeiro, where the two leaders released a common declaration on foreign policy and economic partnership between Brazil and Turkey.
Expressing concerns over the ongoing security situation in Syria, the two leaders emphasized that a comprehensive political process to respond to the Syrian people’s legitimate democratic aspirations should be begun urgently. They also reiterated that they support international envoy Kofi Annan’s efforts, calling for the six-point Annan peace plan to be implemented as a whole within the scope of UN Resolutions 2042 and 2403.
The leaders also emphasized their full support for an independent Palestinian state, to be established within the scope of internationally recognized borders of the agreement of June 4, 1967, taking East Jerusalem as its capital. Noting that Middle Eastern and North African countries are expressing their aspirations for political participation, increasing economic opportunities, dignity and social justice, they highlighted the necessity for people to put forward those needs and for governments to respond in a peaceful way.
The Brazilian president also expressed her appreciation to Erdoğan for Turkey’s support of Brazil’s application for observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Also delivering a speech during the meeting, Erdoğan announced that Turkey will continue to conduct its open-door policy for Syrians, no matter if the increasing number of refugees reaches as high as 31,000.
“We cannot close our doors to these people. We opened them and we will be ready to host them no matter how many people come because it is our humanitarian responsibility,” Erdoğan said during his speech.
Arguing that “no one can escape from that responsibility in a situation where even children are massacred,” Erdoğan remarked that “while poverty, unlawfulness, terrorism and even state terrorism are targeting the oppressed, no one has the luxury to turn their back and remain silent. The ones who choose to remain silent should acknowledge that, sooner or later, those problems will affect either them or their children and grandchildren.”
The struggle inside Syria has the potential to intensify significantly in the coming months. The latest observer mission, the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), sent to Syria as part of the Annan plan, suspended its activities and started to return to UN bases following an escalation of armed violence between the Syrian opposition and regime forces that impeded the ability of the observers to carry out their mandate.
The Annan plan envisaged a nationwide truce between the Syrian army and the opposition, but with dozens of casualties per week from continued fights between the army and the opposition, the eventual success of the plan has long been in doubt.
The UN claims Syrian forces have killed 10,000 people in a crackdown on protests against Assad’s rule that first broke out in March of last year, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world which toppled four autocratic leaders. The opposition puts the number killed at as high as 14,000.