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Assad is a ‘mute devil’: Turkish PM

Afkar Abdullah / 25 February 2013

The Turkish prime minister has described Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad as a ‘mute devil’ for slaughtering his own people but silently allowing Israel to occupy Syrian territory, at a Government Communication Forum in Sharjah.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan received enthusiastic applause for his scathing assessment of the leader of Turkey’s neighbouring country, citizens of which have flooded into refugee camps in Turkish border towns.

“We will not remain silent in the face of the cruel dictator, the mute devil, who mercilessly carried out massacres against his own people, but who has remained silent and unresponsive towards those who have occupied his own territories for decades,” the keynote speaker told the gathering on the first day of the two-day forum, which began on Sunday.

Israel occupied the strategic Golan Heights plateau in 1967. Despite hostility between the two countries, Israel and Syria have not gone to war since 1973 and the border region has been generally without major tensions for decades.

Erdogan went on to tell the audience that government must speak out against humanitarian crises and “political hypocrisy”, referring specifically to Iraq.

“We must not remain silent when seeing scenes of children and women who get killed daily in Syria, and we should not forgive those who commit crimes against their own people.”

He said eyes and tongues were blind and dumb “as long as they stand motionless before the killing of children and women in Syria”.

The comments came just hours before the new US Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to begin his first official overseas trip that will include talks with Nato allies, including Turkey, on ways to end nearly two years of bloodshed in Syria that has claimed at least 70,000 lives.

Erdogan, who has been the leader of his country for the past decade, also talked about the importance of staying connected to citizens through powerful communication.

He said the advent of e-communication could change human lives and shape governments and societies. However, direct communication was more effective.

“The secret of the success of our government is based on communication from the heart...communication devices are not enough for communication with people, because they can’t convey message with sincere, honesty and feelings of human issues.”

Despite the 81 provinces of his country, which stretch over more than 783,000 square kilometres, Erdogan said he had visited each province more than 20 times to “establish direct communication with (the) people, and listen to their issues”.

He urged governments to be sincere, truthful and transparent. Those politicians who used communication effectively would gain the confidence and respect of their citizens, he said.

(With inputs from AP)


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