ANKARA - Turkey has suspended talks with Syria and may impose sanctions on Damascus, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said, the clearest sign yet that Ankara has parted ways with Syrian President Bashar Assad over his bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.
After long maintaining close relations with neighbor Syria, Turkey has spoken out increasingly against Assad, urging him to end a military crackdown on a popular uprising and to launch democratic reforms.
During a tour of Arab countries last week, Erdogan said that Turkey's approach to Syria had changed and that Ankara would soon announce its "final" decision on Syria by the time the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
"I halted talks with the Syrian government. I did not want to come to this point. But the Syrian government forced us to make such a decision," Erdogan told Turkish journalists in New York on Wednesday after meeting US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.