Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Erdogan: It's Time for Assad to Leave

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has now thrown down the gauntlet over Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's massacres. Assad has killed nearly 4,000 people since the (at first) peaceful protests began in the country earlier this year. Turkey has been a harsh critic, including sheltering defectors from the Syrian military.

Now, Turkey has decided to call for Assad to step aside. This is beyond its previous comments.
But Mr. Erdogan’s comments were notable nonetheless for his explicit language; he likened Mr. Assad to the self-delusional dictators of history who have met violent and messy ends, most recently Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya.

“Just remove yourself from that seat before shedding more blood, before torturing more and for the welfare of your country as well as the region,” Mr. Erdogan said of Mr. Assad in a televised statement at his party meeting in Ankara.
This is a big step diplomatically, and Turkey is also pressuring its allies to isolate Assad. Whether this will come to anything is still in doubt.

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