Erdogan says peace talks pointless as Russia still attacks

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says Syrian peace talks in Geneva are pointless as Russia continues to attack

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (L) pasts honour guard upon his arrival at the government palace, during a visit in Lima, Peru, February 2, 2016

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Syrian peace talks in Geneva, which were suspended on Wednesday, were pointless while Assad regime forces and Russia continued their attacks in the country.

"Russia continues to kill people in Syria. Could there be such a peace gathering? Could there be such peace talks?" Erdogan said in a speech during his official visit to Peru.

"In an environment where children are still being killed, such attempts do not have any function apart from making things easier for the tyrant," he said.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura halted his efforts to conduct the talks after the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, advanced against opposition forces north of Aleppo, choking opposition supply lines from Turkey to the city.

With respect to the advancement, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that, "This humanitarian logistic corridor is now under the invasion of these foreign fighters and regime forces (with) the support of Russian warplanes."

"What they want to do in Aleppo today is exactly what they did in Madaya before, a siege of starvation," he also said.

De Mistura announced a three-week pause in the Geneva talks, the first attempt in two years to negotiate an end to Syria's war.

Another senior UN official said the Russian escalation was the main reason.

"They always convene, get together, eat, drink and then leave. Now they are giving a date for end-February. Let's watch. You will see that once it is Feb. 28 they will postpone again," Erdogan said at a university in Lima, the Peruvian capital.

Russian air strikes have killed nearly 1,400 civilians since Moscow started its aerial campaign in support of Assad nearly four months ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Saturday.

Turkey has warned that Russia's actions risk exacerbating a refugee crisis, while the country already hosts a record number of more than 2.5 million refugees.

Meanwhile, European Union countries on Wednesday approved 3 billion euro ($3.35 billion) in funding to help Turkey improve living conditions for refugees in return for its help ensuring fewer leave for Europe.

TRTWorld, Reuters