‘Turkey will not watch killing in Syria from sidelines’

Ankara: Turkey will not watch the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people in Syria to further the regime’s interests, Turkey’s president said Friday.

In a Twitter message in Turkish, English, Russian and Arabic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would neither watch from the sidelines nor participate in such a game “if the world turns a blind eye to the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people [in Syria]”.

Erdogan’s remarks came after his meeting Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the Iranian capital Tehran to discuss joint efforts as part of the Astana peace process and political efforts for finding a lasting solution to the Syrian conflict.

Erdogan said Turkey has been trying to stop the bloodshed in Syria since the crisis broke out.

“Without discrimination, we rushed to the help of our Syrian brothers and sisters. Today, as in the past, we do not [want] any of our Syrian brothers or sisters to suffer – even from a nosebleed,” he said.

Erdogan said the importance Turkey attaches to Friday’s trilateral summit “reflects Turkey’s care for the future of our Syrian brothers and sisters”.

Turkey clearly stated during the Tehran meeting that resorting to methods that disregard civilian lives “would only play into the hands of terrorists,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan said the Idlib issue must be resolved in line with the Astana process and without giving rise to pain, new tensions or more suffering.

“Upholding the principles on which we agreed in Astana is key to finding a sustainable political solution to the Syrian crisis as well.”

Warning against any faits accomplis under the pretext of fighting terrorism, Erdogan said resisting separatist efforts that seek to undermine Syria’s territorial integrity and the national security of neighboring countries was crucial.

He emphasized that Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrians and vowed that Turkey would continue to strive for the voluntary and safe repatriation of refugees and a lasting solution which will create a common ground for all parties to the Syrian dispute.