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Erdogan to Assad: 'Your Days Are Numbered'

Turkey's prime minister tells Syria's Assad tanks and cannons would not keep him in power forever - who will you fight?
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 11/22/2011, 12:16 AM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Syrian President Bashar Al Assad Monday that his days as a leader were numbered.

"You can remain in power with tanks and cannons only up to a certain point. The day will come when you'll also leave," Erdogan said.

"Someone shows up and says 'I'll fight and die. Against whom will you fight? Will you fight against your Muslim brothers you rule in your country?" said Erdogan.

Erdogan appeared to be responding to comments made by Assad in an interview published in London's Sunday Times in which he vowed "to fight and die for Syria"  if faced with foreign intervention. 

"This goes without saying and is an absolute," Assad told the Sunday Times.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Assad's regime as the death toll from the increasingly bloody crackdown on protests has risen to more than 3,500 since mid-March.

Ankara last week announced a halt to joint oil exploration with Syria and has threatened to cut electricity exports there.

Upping the pressure on Syria, the Arab League on Sunday announced it had rejected amendments proposed by Damascus to its proposal to send a 500-strong delegation to monitor the violence in Syria.

For his part, Assad accused the Arab League of creating a pretext for Western military intervention, which he said would trigger an "earthquake" across the Middle East.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said there was “no place for authoritarian regimes” in the Mediterranean region.

"I strongly believe that there is no place any more for authoritarian regimes – single party systems that do not have accountability or transparency – on the shores of the Mediterranean," he told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

“As someone who has studied in the United Kingdom, lived in the United Kingdom, has this world view, President Al Assad should be able to understand this.”