Turkish President says Assad should transform Syria into multi-party system


Turkish President Abdullah Gül
President Abdullah Gül has said Syrian President Bashar Assad should transform Syria into multi-party system after the Syrian leader’s what he called “not sufficient” speech on Monday.
Gül told reporters late on Monday that Assad’s speech is “not enough, but yes,” referring to a slogan Turkish civil society had endorsed during a constitutional changes campaigning period last September.
“Assad should clearly and precisely say: ‘Everything has changed. We’re transforming the system into a multi-party one. Everything will be organised according to the Syrian’s people will, and I will be carrying out this process’,” Gül said, in the latest sign Turkey is losing patience with its former ally.
Gül said he estimates Assad will be able to control all events right after he finds a power to say this. Turkish president said Assad might be saying these subtly, but he needs to say it very openly.

The Syrian president promised a national dialogue on Monday to consider political reforms, but his vague overtures to a pro-democracy uprising fell flat as protesters took to the streets shouting “Liar!” and demanding his ouster.

Turkey, which until recently enjoyed warm relations with Syria, has called on Assad several times immediately to halt a violent crackdown on protesters and pass democratic reforms.

Gül said a moment after Assad says: “The time has come. As everyone, Syrians are also civilized people with experience. What we will do is to transform into a multi-party system. We will hold elections in line with all universal, democratic criteria and what people say will happen and I will lead this transformation,” he will both be able to control events and will make the best service to his country.

In the past two weeks, almost 11,000 Syrians have fled from that area of military operations into neighboring Turkey in an embarrassing spectacle for one of the most tightly controlled countries in the Middle East.

Assad appealed to the refugees to come home, saying there would be no retribution.

Four hours after Assad’s speech, dozens of Syrians emerged from an olive grove on the Syrian side of the border and crossed into Turkey on foot – just one small sign Assad failed to persuade Syrian refugees to return to their homes.

In a controversial statement, Gül’s Middle East advisor Er?at Hürmüzlü told the al-Arabiya channel on Sunday night that Assad has less than a week to start implementing long-promised political reforms demanded by Syrian protestors before foreign intervention begins.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has condemned the crackdown as “savagery”, while Turkey has given sanctuary to some 10,000 Syrian refugees who have streamed across the border.

Ankara repeated that message last week to Hassan Turkmani, Assad’s envoy, who held talks in Ankara with Erdo?an and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu.

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