Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has dismissed accusations by embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the Turkish government has been supporting “terrorists” to carry out attacks on the Syrian army and civilians, saying that the allegations are “false and meaningless.”
Speaking to reporters on Sunday in Albania, Davutoğlu noted that Assad has used chemical weapons to kill his own people and that he has no right to criticize Turkey. He maintained that Assad’s statements have nothing to do with reality and that Turkey and the world were aware of this fact. “The allegations are absolutely false,” Davutoğlu added.
In an interview with private Turkish station Halk TV on Friday evening, Assad told Turkey it will pay a heavy price for backing opposition forces fighting to oust him, accusing Turkey of harboring “terrorists,” who will soon turn against their hosts, along its border.
Assad also called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “bigoted” and said Turkey was allowing terrorists to cross into Syria to attack the army and Syrian civilians.
The Syrian president also claimed that Erdoğan’s government was only concerned with the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria when it was urging Syria to carry out political reforms during the earlier stages of the Syrian crisis.
Davutoğlu pointed out that he and Erdoğan had previously asked Assad to listen to the demands of his people and endorse reforms, noting that Assad turned a deaf ear to Turkey’s recommendations. He added that Assad did not heed Turkey’s warnings to initiate reforms, refused to cooperate with Ankara and, instead, opted to impose his despotic rule on the Syrian people.
The foreign minister said as a leader who had committed a crime against humanity, Assad should first and foremost apologize to his people.