Erdo?an vows ‘response’ to Syria after attack on Turkish flag



Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an addresses lawmakers of his AK Party in Parliament on Tuesday. (Photo: AA)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an signaled that an apology by the Syrian government for weekend attacks on its diplomatic missions in Syria is not enough, urging President Bashar al-Assad regime to find and punish perpetrators of an attack on the Turkish flag in Latakia and vowing that such assaults will get a proper “response.”
Addressing the Syrian president with his first name, Erdo?an said: “Bashar, You who have thousands of people in jail, must find those who attacked the Turkish flag and punish them.”
Turkey evacuated the families of diplomats after Saturday’s attacks on its embassy in Damascus and its consulates in the cities of Aleppo and Latakia, where assailants burned a Turkish flag. Supporters of Assad were trying to break into the Turkish missions to denounce an Arab League decision to suspend Syria’s membership over its crackdown on the eight-month uprising. Turkey is not a member of the league, but welcomed the decision.
Syrian Foreign Minister Waled al-Moallem, speaking at a news conference on Monday, apologized for the attacks on foreign diplomatic missions. Diplomatic missions of Saudi Arabia and France were also attacked following the Arab League decision.

“I want to make this clear to the Assad regime: Throughout history, those who tried to touch the Turkish flag were given their response. They will receive their response in the future as well,” Erdo?an said, when addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“Once again, we are strongly condemning these attacks. We want the Syrian regime to not only apologize but also to find culprits,” he went on.

The Turkish prime minister, once a close ally of Assad, also reiterated his criticism of the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests and promised that Turkey will continue to support the Syrian nation.

“Those who fire shots at their own people will go down in the history as leaders who feed on blood,” Erdo?an said. Addressing Assad, he continued: “You are on the same path… It is our desire that the Syrian regime will turn from this path which is headed nowhere but a cliff.”

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