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Assad's Fall a Matter of Time, Says Turkish FM

The fall of Syria’s government is “only a matter of time,” predicts Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/20/2012, 5:12 AM

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Helsinki
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Helsinki
Reuters

The fall of Syria’s government is “only a matter of time,” Turkey’s foreign minister said on Wednesday, according to the Turkish daily Hurriyet.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on other countries to help make the prospective transition period as brief as possible, the report said.

“It is clear that if a regime loses legitimacy and fights against its own people, that regime will lose that fight,” Davutoglu said at a press conference after meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Erkki Tuomioja, in Helsinki.

“As to timing: now we can be surer than before... it is only a matter of time. But it is up to the international community how to make the transition as fast as possible... in order to prevent further disasters,” he added.

Davutoglu said he was not in favor of international military intervention in the Syrian conflict, echoing the views of Tuomioja, who said he did not think such a move was “on the table at all.”

On Tuesday, Davutoglu called on Syria's longtime ally Iran to "send a clear message" to Syria's embattled regime to stop the violence against its own people.

"Instead of criticising the (Patriot missile) system, Iran should say stop to the Syrian regime that has been continuously oppressing its own people and provoking Turkey through border violations," Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.

"It is time to send clear messages to the Syrian regime," he added.

His comments referred to Iran's condemning a plan by Turkey to deploy U.S.-made Patriot missiles along its border with Syria. Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday that "the deployment of Patriot missiles will achieve nothing but to provoke and result in being forced into an uncalculated action."

On Satutrday, Iran's top general issued a stern warning to Ankara over its planned hosting of the missile batteries, saying it was part of a Western plot to "create a world war."

Earlier this month, NATO agreed to deploy Patriot missiles along the border of Turkey as requested by Ankara to help it defend its territory against threats from Syria. Germany, the Netherlands and the United States have agreed to provide the missile batteries, which would come under NATO command.