Turkey tells Assad to punish 'murderers' of opposition

AFP , Friday 9 Dec 2011

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu advocates the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to immediately punish the 'murderers' of pro-democracy protesters and accept Arab League observers

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) talks to his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle as they pose for a group photo during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels December 7, 2011. (Photo:Reuters)

Turkey urged Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Friday to punish the "murderers" of anti-regime protesters and accept observers proposed by the Arab League.

"If he (Assad) is now sincere, he will immediately punish the murderers and accept Arab League observers. He still has such an opportunity," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters.

His comments were in response to a question about a rare interview with Assad in which the Syrian leader said he was not responsible for the months-long bloodshed, drawing a distinction between himself and the military.

Davutoglu said Assad's remarks were a kind of "confession".

"He now accepts that security forces might have made a mistake," said Davutoglu. "I wish he had said this in April."

Assad told veteran ABC News interviewer Barbara Walters this week that security forces belonged to "the government" and not him personally.

"We don't kill our people," Assad said. "No government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."

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