Turkey's Gul says change is inevitable in Syria

"Syria is now at a dead end," says Turkish president, urging action to prevent civil war there.

Turkey President  Abdullah Gul flag 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Olivia Harris )
Turkey President Abdullah Gul flag 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Olivia Harris )
LONDON - Turkish President Abdullah Gul said neighboring Syria has reached a dead end and change is inevitable, but everything must be done to prevent the country from descending into civil war.
Turkey had been increasingly critical of Syrian President Bashar Assad's repression of anti-government protests in which thousands have been killed.
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"Syria is now at a dead end so change is inevitable," Gul, who is on a state visit to Britain and is expected to meet Prime Minister David Cameron later on Tuesday, told the Guardian newspaper in an interview.
"But we don't believe the right way to create change is through external intervention. The people must make that change," he said. "Civil war is not something that anyone would want to see happen. Everything must be done to prevent it. It is very dangerous."
Britain has condemned Assad's actions as "appalling and unacceptable" and held talks on Monday with representatives of Syrian opposition groups.
Gul told the Guardian he had spoken to Assad regularly until a few months ago and advised him to allow free elections, free political prisoners and announce a clear timetable for reforms.
"It's quite too late for that sort of thing now," he told the newspaper. "He seems to have opted for a different route. And frankly we do not have any more trust in him."
Gunmen wounded two Turks on Monday when they opened fire on a convoy of Turkish buses inside Syria carrying pilgrims returning from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Turkish media reported.