Erdogan to Assad: Stop the violence, implement reforms

Turkish PM demands Syrian president set timetable for reforms, halt violence, as Assad calls to congratulate Erdogan on election win.

Erdogan post election win 521 (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Erdogan post election win 521
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Syrian President Bashar Assad that he must stop the violence in his country, the Turkish state news agency reported.
The conversation, which began as a congratulatory call from Assad to Erdogan over his recent election victory, turned to the topic of violence and reforms in Syria. Erdogan told Assad he must make a timetable for reforms, and implement them urgently, according to the Anadolu Agency.
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Last week, Erdogan escalated his rhetoric towards Assad, calling the In an escalation of rhetoric towards Syrian President Bashar Assad yet unseen from Ankara, Turkish Prime Minsiter Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Syrian crackdown on protesters "inhumane," and described it as barbaric, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported on Friday.
As some 2,500 refugees have fled to Turkey in recent days from Syria's northern region where troops and tanks are amassing ahead of an expected offensive, blasted the tactics employed by Syria's elite army units, led by President Assad's brother, Maher.
"Sadly, they don't behave like humans," Erdogan said of the Syrian army's 4th Division, commanded by Maher Assad, according to the report. "Now the barbarity... [soldiers] pose [for a photo] in such an ugly way at the bedside of women who they killed," the Turkish prime minister added, "these images cannot be digested."
Addressing moves in the United Nations Security Council to impose stronger sanctions against Assad and his regime, Erdogan said, "We can't [support] Syria amidst all this as Turkey. We still have relatives [in Syria]."
Recalling a telephone conversation with the Syrian leader several days before, Erdogan lamented, the Syrian leadership "take[s] this very lightly," according to the report.
Reuters contributed to this report