'Turkey FM warns Assad not to follow Gaddafi'

Turkish officials hold consultations with US Mideast envoy to coordinate positions ahead of Davutoglu's Damascus visit.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 9, 2011 09:25
1 minute read.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. (photo credit: Raheb Homavandi / Reuters)

Syrian President Bashar Assad must end his military operations against civilian protesters if he wants to avoid "go[ing] the way of Libya's leadership," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is expected to warn Damascus in a visit Tuesday, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Monday.

The visit to Syria by Turkey's top diplomat comes as Arab states were pulling their ambassadors out of Damascus and comes on the heels of a consultation between the Turkish leadership and US Mideast envoy Fred Hof on Monday.

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Hof's visit was intended to coordinate the stances of Washington and Ankara ahead of Davutoglu's trip to Syria, according to the report.

Turkish officials also held top-level consultations on the escalation of violence in Syria ahead of the visit. Government sources told the Hurriyet that all options were being considered, ranging from economic and political sanctions to establishing a military buffer zone on the border between the two countries.

Among the demands expected to be delivered to Syria's leadership by the Turkish foreign minister Tuesday were ending military operations against civilians, setting a concrete date for free elections, freeing political prisoners and taking additional steps toward political reform, according to the Hurriyet report.

"Assad and his regime know in-depth what they should do," the Hurriyet quoted a source in Ankara as saying, noting that Turkey has offered Syria assistance "in a number of fields."

Although diplomatic measures were said to be on the table, last Friday, Davutoglu said it was too soon to talk about asking the Syrian ambassador to Ankara to leave.

Reuters contributed to this report

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