Erdoğan and Assad exchange new bout of insults
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Syrian President Bashar Assad was a terrorist and Turkey could not have relations with his government, Turkish private broadcaster NTV said.
“How can we embrace a future with a Syrian president who killed around a million of his citizens?” Erdoğan asked at a press conference with his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi during a visit to Tunisia. “Do you think people in Syria would like to see such a person leading them?”
“I say it clearly, Assad is actually a terrorist. There is still a bloodbath in Syria,” he said.
Erdoğan spoke in apparent response to a Syrian Foreign Ministry statement that said the Turkish president was “responsible for shedding Syrian blood”.
“Once again, Erdoğan misleads public opinion with his political bubbles in a desperate attempt to absolve himself from crimes committed against the Syrian people through providing unlimited support to the terrorist groups in Syria, which has become clear to the entire world,” the statement said.
“Erdoğan, who has turned Turkey into a big jail and muzzled the mouth of media, intellectuals and everyone who opposes his destructive policies against Syria, lacks credibility,” it said.
Turkey became directly involved in the Syrian civil war in 2016 with the launch of Operation Euphrates Shield, which saw the Turkish troops intervene into northern Syria.
Turkish troops also entered the Syrian province of Idlib in October this year as part of a peacekeeping agreement made during peace talks in the Kazakhstan capital Astana.