Monday, April 9, 2012

Turkish Defense Minister adopts provocative stance on Syria

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz

Source: Press TV

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has adopted a provocative position regarding Syria, saying that Ankara is prepared for any development on the Syrian situation, including war.

Yilmaz, however, noted that Ankara is “not calling for war,” but that it will be prepared just in case.

The Turkish defense minister made the remarks in a statement issued on Sunday, when the Syrian Foreign Ministry said UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has not provided “written guarantees” that the armed opposition groups will also abide by a peace plan to halt all violence in the country.

On April 5, Annan’s spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi said, “What we expect on April 10 is that the Syrian government will have completed its withdrawal from populated centers.”

The withdrawal was part of a six-point plan proposed by Annan to Damascus in March.

The Syrian statement added that Annan “has not submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Ankara will “patiently follow the process (in Syria) until April 10,” but “we will implement steps” if the turmoil in Syria does not stop after the date.

The Turkish premier, however, did not exactly specify the possible measures Ankara would take.

According to official figures provided by the Turkish government, more than 24,000 refugees are currently stationed in Turkish camps near the Syrian border.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry expressed on Sunday the willingness of Damascus to cooperate with Annan and “continue to inform him of the steps we are taking to implement the plan, in the hope of obtaining documented guarantees.”

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