Turkey PM lashes out at muted criticism of Syria
AFP, Thursday 17 Nov 2011
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams the weak response of countries to the brutal crackdown on protesters in his former ally Syria, claiming this is shaped by its lack of oil reserves

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday criticised the international community for muted criticism of Syria, saying more would be heard if the country had richer oil resources.

"The world may not be following Syria with sufficient care and sensitivity because it is not a wealthy country in terms of energy resources," Erdogan told an energy forum in Istanbul.

"Syria may not be drawing attention as much as Libya because it does not have sufficient oil resources," said Erdogan.

"The silence and unresponsiveness of those who have an appetite for Libya to the massacres in Syria is creating irreparable wounds in the conscience of humanity," he said.

In September, the European Union banned crude oil imports from Syria, a tough measure against Damascus as the 27-nation bloc buys 95 percent of its oil exports, providing a third of the regime's hard currency earnings.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Assad's regime since the Syrian uprising began.

Ankara has already announced a halt to joint oil exploration with Syria and has threatened to cut electricity exports there.