Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gives a press conference after meeting with his Austrian counterpart in Vienna. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blew his chances of survival by failing to implement democratic reforms at the early stages of the Arab Spring, said Davutoglu. © Dieter Nagl - AFP
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
AFP
Last updated: March 22, 2012

Turkey: Survival of Syria regime almost impossible

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blew his chances of survival by failing to implement democratic reforms at the early stages of the Arab Spring, Turkey's foreign minister said Thursday.

"I don't think that this regime, with these characteristics, can survive. It is against the logic of history and the flow of history," Ahmet Davutoglu said in Vienna before heading to an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"A regime fighting against its own people, trying to keep the status quo, cannot survive," he told reporters.

If President Bashar al-Assad had implemented reforms a year ago in the wake of the Arab Spring movements of democratic change across the Middle East, "he would have a much bigger chance," Davutoglu added.

"But after killing so many people, convincing his people -- it is not important to convince us, he must convince his own people -- is very difficult, almost impossible ... after all these massacres."

Monitors say more than 9,100 people have been killed in a revolt against Assad that started a year ago with peaceful protests before turning into an increasingly armed revolt.

Davutoglu also said that he wanted "a joint international position and policy to act together" to ensure humanitarian access, not only to border areas but also to Syrian cities such as Homs.

"If it is of course prevented, a tough measure leading to humanitarian protection (is needed). This humanitarian tragedy should not just be watched on TV," he said.

"We patiently are waiting for the P5 to agree on a resolution in the UN," he said in reference to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

"Those who are talking on this issue should be acting responsibly because we are paying the price. There must be a quick action, there must be a joint position."

Earlier Davutoglu had said that after a UN Security Council statement on the Syrian crisis on Wednesday, a "joint plan of action" was needed to end what he called a "human tragedy".

"We continue to think that Syria is playing for time and we must do something to stop this violence," Davutoglu told a news conference through an interpreter.

"Just making calls is not enough."

Turkey broke its longtime alliance with the Damascus regime in November by calling on Assad to quit, and in addition to taking in around 17,000 refugees the country has become the main haven for opposition groups and rebel fighters.

It is due to host on April 1 a "Friends of Syria" conference in Istanbul to pressure the Damascus regime following a first such meeting in Tunis on February 24 attended by leading officials from Western and Arab countries.

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