Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday urged Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to end his violent crackdown on anti-regime protestors, saying the latter would not maintain rule by using military force against his own people.
“If you have self-confidence as a leader, you go to the ballot boxes. Everyone heads to ballot boxes and you take over rule if these ballot boxes give you power. Then you can rule your country. But you cannot maintain your rule with tanks and weapons. You will also leave one day. ... We have told him this many times. The leader of Syria, Bashar, did not understand this although we had told him that many times and we even developed a familial relationship,” Erdoğan said while delivering a speech at a meeting of religious leaders from Muslim countries and communities in Africa.
He slammed Assad's remarks over the weekend that he would fight and die if needed. “Someone shows up and says, ‘I'll fight and die.' Against whom will you fight? Will you fight against your Muslim brothers you rule in your country?” asked Erdoğan.