16 November 2012
Turkey recognizes the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoðlu announced yesterday, calling on the international community to follow suit.
“Turkey wholeheartedly welcomes this important achievement and once again reiterates its recognition of the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and calls upon all our brothers in the OIC to do so,” Davutoðlu said in his address to the Organization of the Islamic Conference ministerial meeting in Djibouti.
‘Syrian people need no more speeches’
Davutoðlu’s statement came a day after France strongly recognized the national coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people and as the future Syrian government. Turkey’s statement was not as powerful as that issued by France, but underlined its recognition of the group as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. While the French recognition was announced by French President François Hollande, Turkey’s came from its foreign minister and during an address to the OIC, in a rather low-profile mood.
In Doha last week, the Syrian opposition decided to join forces for their common objective.
“I take this opportunity also to call upon the international community to fulfill their promises and extend full support and assistance to the Coalition and the Syrian people,” Davutoðlu said. “What the Syrian revolution and the Syrian people need now is not more speeches of sympathy and promise only, but effective and real support.”
Citing the conflict in Syria as having negative effects on the region and on neighboring countries, Davutoðlu described Turkey’s border security as jeopardized as a result of Syrian army’s bombings and military attacks.
“Our towns on the border have been targeted by the Syrian army. As a result, five of our citizens have lost their lives and others have been injured,” he said. The foreign minister stressed Turkey’s adherence to international law in dealing with its border security.
“Turkey, in accordance with international law, has taken appropriate measures and has responded. We do not want escalation. But everyone should be well aware that Turkey has the capacity and determination to protect its citizens and borders,” Davutoðlu said.
‘Assad’s days numbered’
The Turkish foreign minister repeated his belief that Bashar al-Assad’s days were numbered and that the Syrian people would soon have a country with a democratic pluralistic system where all citizens enjoy equal rights and privileges, regardless of their religious, sectarian or ethnic background.
U.S. President Barack Obama also backed the new coalition. “We’re not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile, but we do think that it is a broad-based representative group,” Obama told reporters at his first news conference in Washington since his re-election.