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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday accused his one-time ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of autocratic behaviour, saying that such an approach would not serve peace.

“So far, I haven’t seen him approach reforms with a democratic understanding. He is still approaching issues with … an autocratic approach,” Erdogan told reporters in televised remarks.”I believe that it is very hard to achieve peace in Syria as long as this approach continues,” he added.

Erdogan’s remarks came after Assad praised a May 7 parliamentary election in Syria as the ideal response “to the criminal killers and those who finance them” in his first address to the assembly on Sunday. Erdogan said the election “cannot be considered fair in parliamentary systems in the modern world,” pointing to the Syrian opposition boycott.

Turkey, once a strong ally of Syria, broke with Damascus after Assad’s regime began cracking down on dissent in March last year.Last week, Turkey ordered Syrian diplomats at their embassy in Ankara to leave the country following the massacre of more than 100 civilians in Houla which has triggered global outrage.

Ahram on Line

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