Turkey says it won't tolerate Syria bloodshed

By REUTERS
November 25, 2011 14:00

Ankara warns "there are steps we can take in consultation with the Arab League"; Arab League sanctions on flights to Syria, trade and bank agreements to go into full effect.

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Turkish FM Davutoglu, Turkish-Italian Forum

Turkish FM Davutoglu, Turkish-Italian Forum_311. (photo credit: Reuters/Murad Sezer)

ISTANBUL - Turkey said on Friday it could tolerate no more bloodshed in Syria and it was ready to take action with Arab powers if President Bashar Assad failed to take steps towards ending the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference that he hoped the Syrian government would give a positive response to Arab League plan on resolving the conflict.

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"If it doesn't, there are steps we can take in consultation with the Arab League," he said. "I want to say clearly we have no more tolerance for the bloodshed in Syria. The attitude of friendly and fraternal countries on this subject is clear".

The Arab League has set a Friday deadline for Syria to agree to comply or else face sanctions, including halting flights, curbing trade and stopping deals with the central bank.

Davutoglu said he was ready to attend a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers that could take place on Sunday, depending on Syria's response. He was also consultating with the European Union, NATO and UN Security Council members.

Davutoglu also held talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who had attended a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Thursday.

Speaking alongside the Turkish minister, Judeh said he hoped Syria would sign a protocol to accept observers as a first step to ending the violence that has gripped the country for eight months.

"This is the collective wish of the Arab world and if they don't, God forbid, we have to meet again," he said.

Non-Arab Turkey, Syria's largest trading partner and formerly a close friend, has strongly backed the stance taken by the Arab League towards Syria.

Turkey and Jordan both border Syria and potentially have a important part to play if French proposals for a humanitarian zones in Syria gather support.

This week Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan bluntly told Assad to quit or risk facing the same fate as Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed last month after being caught by rebels.


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