Turkey losing patience with Syria

ISTANBUL // Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says his patience with the Syrian government was running out and suggested that President Bashar Al Assad may end up like Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian leader now facing trial.

“Until today, we have been very patient, wondering many times whether we can solve this, whether words translated into actions,” Mr Erdogan told guests at an Istanbul iftar on Saturday. “But now we have come to the last moments of our patience.”

Mr Erdogan said he was sending Ahmet Davutoglu, his foreign minister, to Damascus tomorrow for talks. “In these talks, he will convey our messages in a firm way,” the prime minister added in his televised speech. “What will happen afterwards will depend on the answers we will receive.”

Earlier this year, Turkey called on Mr Mubarak to leave power, and Mr Erdogan has also demanded an end to the rule of Libyan leader Col Muammar Qaddafi. But Ankara has long been less outspoken in the case of Mr Al Assad and Syria, where, according to human-rights monitors, more than 1,800 people have died in protests against the regime in recent months.

Bulent Arinc, a Turkish deputy prime minister, said last week that the recent attack by Syrian forces on the city of Hama was an “atrocity” and that the government behind such brutality could not be called a friend.

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