Erdogan says he will press Syria's Assad to reform

Turkish PM promises to confront embattled Syrian president on removing emergency rule, releasing political prisoners.

April 2, 2011 18:11
2 minute read.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


ISTANBUL - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he would press Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to defuse unrest by making reforms sought by the Syrian people when he speaks to him on Monday, newspapers reported on Saturday.

"Beyond governmental change, there were expectations on removal of emergency rule, release of political prisoners and a new constitution," Erdogan told journalists who accompanied him on Friday on his way back from an official visit to London.

Rights group: Syria arrests more than 20 over unrest
9 reported killed as rallies spread across Syria

"If those expectations do not take place, we will say this to Mr Assad on Monday," Erdogan was quoted as saying in a report published by the Hurriyet newspaper.

Erdogan has spoken by telephone with Assad twice since trouble first broke out in Turkey's southeast neighbor last month.

More than 60 people have been killed in Syria since pro-democracy protests began and on Friday security forces killed at least three protesters in a Damascus suburb, as thousands participated in pro-democracy marches in several parts of Syria.

A week ago the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for political and economic reforms in Syria and restraint in dealing with protests.

In Assad's first public appearance since demonstrations against his 11-year rule began, he blamed the unrest on Wednesday on a foreign conspiracy and failed to spell out reforms.

Click for full Jpost coverage of 
turmoil in the Middle East

But a day later, officials said Assad had ordered the creation of a panel to draft anti-terrorism legislation to replace the 48-year-old emergency law used to stifle opposition and allow arbitrary arrests.

They said he also ordered an investigation into the deaths of civilians and members of the security forces during clashes in Deraa and Latakia last week, and called for another investigation into the 1962 census that resulted in some 150,000 ethnic Kurds in the eastern region of al-Hasaka being denied citizenship.

Erdogan said Turkey was watching the Syrian people's reaction to Assad's speech and actions so far.

Turkey's longest land border is with Syria. Asked whether there was a danger that Turkey could be flooded with people fleeing the unrest across the border to Turkey, Erdogan said; "I hope not. Otherwise this will create difficulties for us."

Relations between Turkey and Syria have improved markedly since Erdogan's AK Party came to power. The two countries had come close to war in the late 1990s over Syrian support for Kurdish militants fighting against the Turkish state.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

United States aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, d
June 20, 2019
Iran says it shot U.S. 'spy' drone in Hormozgan province, U.S. denies


Cookie Settings