The improper methods adopted by radical groups in Syria have made the Syrian government appear “ the lesser evil,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Jan. 9 but added ” how can a criminal regime that killed its own people be a lesser evil”?.
“Some circles are conducting a psychological move targeting Turkey as if Turkey was supporting the armed groups in Syria,” Davutoğlu told Anadolu Agency, noting that Ankara considered elements of the Syrian government, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and al-Qaeda in Syria as factors posing a security risk to Turkey.
“All foreign elements must leave Syria,” he said, adding that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) emerged when the opposition gained power in northern Syria and started a war against other opposition elements.
“The regime and ISIL are in a partnership backstage,” the top diplomat said. Rebel groups last week launched what appeared to be a series of coordinated strikes against ISIL in northern and eastern Syria after months of increasing tensions with the group, which has alienated many Syrians in rebel-held regions.
If the Syrian regime accepted a democratic transition, it would now be walking with Turkey, Davutoğlu said. “We are on the side of Syrian people no matter what ethnicity or sect they belong to.”
Some elements such as the PYD have extended influence in Kurdish regions, while ISIL has increased influence in Sunni Arab regions due to the power vacuum in Syria, he said. “Turkey had nothing to with these and will not do so in any way.”
The minister also said Turkey supported Iran’s attendance at the Geneva II conference, provided Tehran accepts decisions taken at the summit.
Elaborating on the Syrian opposition’s participation at the Geneva II Conference, Davutoğlu said Turkey wanted the opposition to attend the meeting.
“But the international community must do its part to ensure that the Syrian regime ends its assaults,” he said, criticizing international organizations for not taking action on the Syrian crisis.
“The U.N. can’t take a stand against the Syrian crisis, which witnessed the greatest humanitarian loss in the last century. When do we need the U.N. Security Council, if not now? An organization which is not able to take decisions also loses its capability to implement [anything],” he said.
“If there were a thing called the ‘international community,’ it lost its raison d’être amid the Syrian crisis,” said the Turkish minister.
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