Turkey has urged Syrian opposition leaders to express their demands through legitimate peaceful means during Ankara’s first official meeting with anti-Assad groups. The SNC’s chairman met Turkey’s FM Davutoğlu yesterday
This file photo shows members of Syrian opposition living in Turkey, waving their national and Turkish flags as they stage a protest against the Syrian regime in Ankara.
Ankara has called on the Syrian National Council (SNC) to eschew violence in its uprising against President Bashar al-Assad during its first official, high-level meeting with members of the anti-government group.
Citing recent armed protests in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu urged Syrian opposition members to express their demands in peaceful ways and distance themselves from violence during an Oct. 17 meeting with SNC chairman Bourhan Ghalioun, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News. The minister also urged the Syrian opposition to preserve unity. Turkey is also in contact with Syrian opposition figures inside the Arab republic, another diplomat said.
Syrian opposition members have already conducted several meetings in Istanbul and Antalya but were asking for an appointment with Davutoğlu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In addition to Ghalioun, other members of the council, including Samir Nashar, Enes Alabde, Besme Kadamani, Ahmed Ramadan and Wael Mirza, also attended the meeting, the Daily News has learned. The opposition delegation arrived in Ankara late on Oct. 17 after Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi briefed Davutoğlu about a recent league meeting on Syria by phone.
The league’s latest initiative calls for the formation of a special delegation to hold talks with the Syrian government and the opposition to prepare for national reconciliation talks to be held at the pan-Arab body’s headquarters. Some members of the Syrian opposition, however, are opposed to discussions with the al-Assad regime. The league did not consult the opposition about the proposal and its 15-day ultimatum to al-Assad will give the regime time to kill more people, Dr. Basma Kadmani, a spokeswoman for the SNC, told Gulf News.
Turkey concerned on violence in Syria
“Syrians have been killed every day for seven months. The league should have sent a strong message to the regime by suspending its membership. It should have dealt with the al-Assad regime the same way as with Libya. Syrian civilians should not have been left alone to face the regime’s military machine,” she said. On Oct. 17 the Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the killing of Ziad al-Obeidi, a leading activist for human rights in Syria, saying it was still concerned about the ongoing violent efforts to suppress opposition in Syria. Obeidi was killed by Syrian security forces in the city of Deir ez-Zor on Oct. 16; Syrian troops opened fire during his funeral, injuring several people yesterday, a statement by the ministry said.