Turkish PM says Syria has become “terrorist state”
ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that President Bashar al-Assad had created a “terrorist state” in Syria and voiced further frustration at the lack of international consensus over the chaos there.
“The massacres in Syria that gain strength from the international community’s indifference are continuing to increase,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK Party.
“The regime in Syria has now become a terrorist state.”
Ankara initially cultivated good relations with Assad’s administration, but Erdogan has become one of Assad’s harshest critics since the uprising against him began 17 months ago.
Turkey, struggling to cope with an influx of around 80,000 Syrian refugees, has repeatedly pushed for a foreign-protected safe zone inside Syria, but the proposal has gained little international support.
Turkey has accused Assad of supplying arms to Kurdish PKK insurgents who have fought government troops in southeast Turkey for almost three decades, and has raised the possibility of military intervention in Syria if the PKK becomes a threat there.
Assad has denied that Syria allowed PKK militants to operate on Syrian territory close to the Turkish frontier.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.