Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s suggestion that Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa could replace Bashar Assad as president and lead a transition government in the war-torn country is a “flagrant political and diplomatic gaffe,” a Syrian minister said on state television Monday, according to an AFP report.
The Associated Press, meanwhile, quoted Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi as saying that Davutoglu’s words reflected “obvious political and diplomatic confusion and blundering.”
“Turkey isn’t the Ottoman Sultanate; the Turkish Foreign Ministry doesn’t name custodians in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo and Jerusalem,” al-Zoubi said. “We’re not in the days of the Ottoman Empire any more,” he reportedly added, advising the current Turkish administration to “give up (power) in favor of personalities who are acceptable to the Turkish people.”
On Sunday, Davutoglu suggested thet Sharaa should replace Assad, describing him as “a reasonable man” who “did not participate in the massacres in Syria,” according to AFP.
Al-Sharaa is a member of Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, unlike Assad and other central figures in the regime who hail from the minority Alawite sect.