Last Update 21:59
Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Turkey 'offered Syria support' if Brotherhood given posts

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad refuses a Turkish offer to assign Muslim Brotherhood members to posts in the government in exchange of Ankara's support in ending the domestic turmoil

AFP , Thursday 29 Sep 2011
Turkey
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, (Reuters).
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2992
Share/Bookmark
Views: 2992

Ankara asked Damascus to offer the Muslim Brotherhood government posts in exchange for Turkey's support in ending rallies in Syria, an offer rejected by Bashar al-Assad, officials and diplomats said.

The plan, which would have required that at least a quarter of ministerial positions went to the currently banned organisation, was initially mooted over the summer.

"In June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered, if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ensured between a quarter and a third of ministers in his government were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, to make a commitment to use all his influence to end the rebellion," a Western diplomat told AFP.

"The head of the Syrian state refused such a proposal," said the diplomat, who did not want to be named.

A European diplomat, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that such a request had been sent to the Syrian leadership.

"The Turks proposed at first that the Muslim Brotherhood occupy four major ministries and explained that they are part of the political components of this country," the diplomat said.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Syria since the rise of the Baath Party to power in 1963. They unsuccessfully tried to organise the population against Assad's father and predecessor, Hafez, who brutally repressed a 1982 revolt in the city of Hama, leaving around 20,000 dead.

Law 49, issued in July 1980 and still in force, makes it a "criminal offence punishable by death to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood."

Thousands of the organisation's members have languished in Syria's prisons for decades, though some have been released.

On August 9, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu delivered a written message to Assad from President Abdullah Gul, who belonged to organisations close to the Muslim Brotherhood before forming Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party

"We hope that some measures will be taken in the coming days to end the bloodshed and open the way to a process for political reform," Davutoglu said at Ankara airport upon his return from the one-day trip to Syria last month.

At the time, Davutoglu spent six and a half hours in talks, half of them one on one with the Syrian leader.

During those talks, he "called for the return of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria," a Syrian official with knowledge of the talks said.

"President Assad told him that as individuals they could certainly come back and enjoy Syrian nationality, but never as a party, because they have a religious foundation which is incompatible with Syria's secular character."

Syria is home to 22 million people from different sects and religions. The majority of its inhabitants are Sunni Muslims, and it has a substantial Christian minority, but the country is ruled by the Alawite minority, a branch of Shiite Islam.

Assad's rejection of Turkey's proposal led to a dramatic worsening in ties between the two countries, and on August 28, Gul said Ankara had "lost our confidence" in the Syrian regime.

More recently, during a meeting with a delegation representing Christian associations in the Middle East, Assad said, according to several news outlets, that he "refused that Ottomanism would replace Arabism, or that Ankara would become the decision-making centre of the Arab world."

He also voiced his opposition to religious parties participating in Syrian politics because "this would allow the Muslim Brotherhood, which is headquartered in Ankara, to control the region."

Asked about the offer made to Damascus, an official in the Turkish foreign ministry told AFP: "This is the first I have heard of that, but we have always said (to Syria) that if you do not share power through elections, and if you do not make reforms ... things will become difficult for you."

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.