Turkish FM renews call for Syria safe zone

Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu renews Turkey's call to establish safe zones for civilians inside Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirilioglu (R) and Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) hold a joint press conference after their meeting at the Foreign Ministry building in Ankara, Turkey on September 18, 2015.

Regarding the Syrian refugee crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu said on Friday "Turkey still thinks that areas must be created in some regions to at least make those people to feel safe," in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Ankara.

The Turkish foreign minister also said that Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad "is already buried in history as a leader who declared war on his own people."

"Assad cannot have a role anymore in Syria's future," said Sinirlioglu, adding that as long as he stayed in power, Syrians will continue to suffer from chaos and confusion in the country.

The German foreign minister praised Turkey's policy on accepting Syrian refugees, saying ‘'Turkey's role about Syrian refugees is invaluable.'’

"We know how hard it is to host more than 2 million refugees," said Steinmeier, adding that Europe should help Syria's and Iraq's neighbors shoulder the burden.

Steinmeier said Turkey is an important power in the region and a country whose input is vital to finding an end to the conflict in Syria.

"I am sure that Turkey will be successful in its efforts at solving this problem," he said.

In a separate press appearance on Friday in Ankara with Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, Sinirlioglu said the EU wanted to cooperate with Turkey to find a solution to the refugee crisis.

"We welcome this yet the first thing to do is to end the crisis in Syria. The elimination of the refugee crisis is not possible unless the crisis and the civil war in Syria ends. There are people there that live under the oppression of a cruel regime and flee the country only to survive."

"We can keep these people in their country when we create a place for them to live under protection, a safe zone to be secure from the barrel bombs. As the international community and the EU we should work all together to make this happen."

Sinirlioglu also said Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees in the world. According to the UN, there are 1.9 million Syrian refugees registered in Turkey alone as of Aug. 25.

The UN estimates that more than 250,000 victims have died since the civil war began and 10 million have been displaced - 6 million internally.

Asselborn said: "It is necessary to create safe zones and we see that humanitarian aids are insufficient. We need to work for ending the conflict. We need to evaluate the reasons that lead these people to leave their country."

Asselborn also said that the EU cannot close its doors on this "tragedy."

Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis in decades, with thousands of asylum seekers from Middle East and African countries trying to reach western Europe.

During the press conference with Asselborn, the Turkish foreign minister also touched upon the recent PKK terror attacks and the security operations against the outlawed group.

"What is happening in Turkey right now is that our security forces are carrying out operations to establish public order against the attacks by the PKK terror organization. Considering this as a 'problem related to Kurds' is out of question for us."

"The issue here is that attacks are launched by a terrorist organization. Turkey is determined to give the necessary response to these attacks. Nobody can threaten the public order in Turkey and none of our friends can criticize for what Turkey is doing to establish the public order."

Following a suicide bomb attack in July in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa that killed over 30 people which is thought to have been carried out by ISIS, the outlawed PKK has renewed armed attacks targeting Turkish security forces and also civilians.

Since July, more than 100 members of the security forces and nearly 30 civilians have been killed in PKK terror attacks.

TRTWorld and agencies