Last updated: 7 May, 2012

Syrian regime can’t last very long, says Turkish leader

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said here on Monday that Syria’s regime cannot not continue in power for long and urged the international community to stop a humanitarian crisis.

“I don’t believe that any regime can stand to work under these principles for very long,” Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa during a one-day visit to the EU member state.

Turkey is “opposed to the regime in Syria… nobody should expect us to stand by the people who are oppressing”.

Turkey, which has a more than 900-kilometre (565-mile) border with Syria, hosts some 23,000 refugees who fled the Damascus regime’s deadly crackdown. It is also playing host to a large Syrian opposition community including rebels who defected from the army.

Erdogan, who on Sunday visited a refugee camp in southern Anatolia on the border with Syria, warned that the humanitarian drama caused by the Syrian regime should be ended as soon as possible.

“This is an international problem, a problem of humanity,” Erdogan said urging the United Nations, the Arab League and Muslim nations to cooperate in bringing the conflict to an end as soon as possible.

“Our problem is not with the people of Syria, there we have brothers, friends,” Erdogan said.

“If you are against the people, you are always risk losing, being condemned, and you see examples of that all over he world. I believe that is what is going to happen in Syria as well,” Erdogan said.

Turkey, once a strong ally of Syria, broke with Damascus after Bashar al-Assad’s regime began cracking down on dissent in mid-March last year.

More than 11,000 people have perished in the violence, activists estimated.