Turkish PM Goes Off-Script at UN: ‘Vicious Tyrant’ Assad Brings ‘Shame’ to Supporters

AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary
AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary

Turkey, the nation’s most vocally opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, took the stage at the UN General Assembly Wednesday, demanding that the “vicious tyrant” be removed, and the world unite for a Syria “without Assad and without Daesh [ISIS].”

In remarks that did not appear in the pre-written statement published by the United Nations before he spoke, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Assad a “vicious tyrant” and accused him of “killing his own people indiscriminately.”

“Every minute he stays in power will add shame on the shoulders of those who support him,” he stated.

His remarks at the General Assembly echoed President Barack Obama’s, who also called Assad a “tyrant” and said, “Realism requires a managed transition away from Assad into a new leader and an inclusive government that recognizes that there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild.”

The Obama administration, unlike the Turkish government, is now working with Assad’s closest ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, to organize a military campaign against Assad’s enemies in Syria.

Davutoglu spoke of the Syrian migrant crisis, offered words of support to the Palestinian representatives at the United Nations, and– somewhat unexpectedly–called for peace in a number of Russian-occupied post-Soviet states, including Ukraine and Georgia. Ultimately, however, he returned to the call for removing Assad.

“We will never succeed until Assad goes together with Daesh,” he insisted, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. His nation, he concluded, calls for a Syria “without Assad and without Daesh”:

This tragedy will not end before the people of Syria have a legitimate government that truly represents their will and enjoys their full consent. Until then, the international community must act swiftly to provide them safety in their homeland, a “safe zone,” free from aerial bombardment by the regime and ground assault by Daesh and other terrorist organizations.

Davutoglu also warned against “Islamophobia” and insisted that “any attempt to affiliate terrorism with any religion or ethnic group is patently mistaken and serves only to strengthen terrorist threat.”

Davutoglu met earlier this week with Presidents Obama and Putin, as well as the Iraqi government leadership. Turkish state media note that Syria was the topic at hand, though no details have surfaced regarding the details of the meeting. Turkey is expected to participate in multilateral talks organized by Russia on eliminating the Islamic State threat in the Middle East and elsewhere.


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