A limited military response to the reported use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is not enough, and any kind of intervention should aim to topple him, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Friday.
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
Erdogan cited the 1999 NATO air campaign during the war in Kosovo as a good example of the type of action he’d like to see.
“If it is something like the example of Kosovo, the Syrian regime won’t be able to continue,” he said.
Erdogan said he would hold discussions with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit next week in Saint-Petersburg on September 6 and 7.
Unlike France, Turkey has not yet given clear indication that it would actively join the US in taking action against the Syrian regime.
The Turkish prime minister’s comments came just as US President Barack Obama said he was considering “limited, narrow” action against Syria for its used of weapons of mass destruction on August 21 in an attack the US says killed 1,429 people.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul took a more moderate approach, according to the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman, saying that a genuine political strategy was needed as limited military strikes would not yield the desires result.
“There would be a political and diplomatic solution to the problem. Russia and Iran somehow should be included in the process,” Gül said.
There are currently some 500,000 Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. The Syrian civil war has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to the latest UN figures.