Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, yesterday accused the Syrian regime of turning Syria to a "terrorist state" on account of the widespread massacres being perpetrated by state forces against the Syrian people. Erdogan also announced that he would be making a visit to Damascus shortly where he and members of his party would meet with their Syrian brethren and pray in the courtyard of the Umayyad mosque. During a meeting of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Erdogan said that because of the indifference shown by the international community, massacres in Syria continue to be on the rise; adding that "the regime in Syria has now turned it [Syria] into a terrorist state". He went on to stress that Turkey could not allow itself to be "indifferent" to the conflict that is tearing its neighbour apart.
He condemned the "massacres committed by the Syrian regime" asserting that Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad, is drowning up to his neck in the blood of his people. He stressed that Turkey would not close its borders to the refugees stating that "our arms will remain opened to our Syrian brothers, as was the case with our Kurdish brothers in 1991; Turkey took in approximately half a million Kurds who fled from Iraq that year."
Erdogan criticized the rigidity of Islamic countries and the international community towards the Syrian crisis and said that "massacres in Syria are increasing due to the negligence of the international community."
Erdogan stated that "Turkish opposition parties that supported the Syrian regime will be embarrassed in the near future to visit Damascus, whilst he and the members of his party will go to Damascus to meet their brothers and sisters there; recite al-Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Quran) by the tomb of Salah Eldin Al Ayoubi; pray in the courtyards of the Umayyad mosque; visit the grave of the Prophet's companion, Bilal El-ibn Rabah; the tomb of Imam Ibn Al-Arabi, the Sulaymaniyah College and the al-Hijaz station; and thank Allah side by side with our Syrian brothers."
Erdogan condemned the terrorist acts carried out by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), stressing that this "terrorist organization does not have the courage to face our security forces. Enemies may have dignity, but this organization does not know anything about it". He added that "no one is above the law, and all those who cooperate with terrorism and terrorists will be prosecuted."
The Anatolia News Agency has said that Turkish troops have conducted military exercises in the Şanlıurfa district on the border with Syria. It said that military vehicles, mostly tanks, had participated in exercises which included testing the ability of military vehicles to manoeuvre in the event of any attack.