Turkey remains opposed to any political transition in Syria involving President Bashar Assad, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying on Monday in an apparent clarification of its policy.
Turkey has been Assad's most outspoken critic since Syria descended into bloodshed in 2011, blaming him for violence that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more, and insisting he had to be removed.
But last week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan floated the idea that Assad could be part of a transitional period. He later said his comments did not represent a policy change.
Davutoglu, in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, said on Sunday that Turkey would accept whatever political solution Syrians choose, but it could not include Assad, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"We have the conviction that with al-Assad in charge during the transition period, that transition period would no longer be transitory. We believe that this situation would turn into a permanent status quo. Our conviction on this matter hasn't changed," the newspaper quoted him as saying.