Erdogan to Assad: Tanks can't preserve power forever

Turkish PM warns Syrian president that violent crackdown against dissent will not sustain his rule.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that he could "remain in power with tanks and cannons only up to a certain point," AFP reported.
Speaking in Istanbul following reports that two Turkish citizens were wounded when gunmen opened fire on a convoy of Turkish buses carrying pilgrims in northern Syria, Erdogan warned Abbas, "The day will come when you'll also leave."
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Erdogan criticized Assad's continued recalcitrance, stating that the Syrian leader was opening the way for "outside interference."
"Why don't you handle your own problem within yourself," Erdogan asked of Assad, denouncing the use of military force against "those who only want a decent life."
After cultivating ties with Assad and Syria for several years, Turkey has this year robustly condemned the repression of peaceful protests, fearing Syrian violence could spill over the border if it develops a stronger ethnic or sectarian dimension.
Syrian opposition figures have met in Istanbul to forge a united front, the Syrian National Council. Turkey has also given sanctuary to Syrian military officers who have defected.
Last week on Saturday, a crowd of around a thousand attacked the Turkish embassy in Damascus, throwing stones and bottles before Syrian police intervened to break up the protest, Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency reported.
Attacks were also staged against Turkey's consulate in Aleppo and its honorary consulate in Latakia, the agency reported Turkish embassy officials in Damascus as saying.
The attacks took place hours after the Arab League suspended Syria for failing to carry out a promise to halt its armed crackdown on eight-month-old pro-democracy demonstrations and open a dialogue with its opponents.
Reuters contributed to this report.