Erdogan speaks to reports on his way back from eastern Europe
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to questions from reporters on his way back from a mission to Eastern Europe yesterday. In response to a question whether the opposition in Syria will talk with President Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan said that the statements by Syrian National Council Head Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib were twisted. "Al-Khatib says they would meet a government that does not include al-Assad. Not the one with al-Assad. But they have twisted it and made it look like a contact with al-Assad. Al-Khatib by no means accepts al-Assad, he says they wouldn't talk. Such a thing cannot happen. But they might sit at the table with the other remnants of the regime. And this is a reflection of the Geneva talks," Erdogan said. Stating that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is restless because the opposition has started squeezing the PYD, Erdogan said that the PYD has a serious problem particularly in Qamishli and Hassake, the opposition was continuing this process very well and the regime was losing power in terms of air control. Touching on the suggestions that Turkey should play a pioneer role in persuading allies, Erdogan said, "Our initial approach about going into such a tour to persuade allies has been talking with the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islam Conference, Russia and China. But we could not achieve the required result. Even the Arab League has not yet provided enough support. The UN Security Council had unfortunately not taken bunch of steps until its latest meeting in Doha. It is obvious how much was donated by donors at the Doha meeting: the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. The sum is said to be $1.3 billion as far as I remember, and a $600 million portion was promised by Saudi Arabia and Qatar alone. But despite all this, I tell you that al-Assad will go. The opposition powers are working with all they have today. After the Doha event, the support for them will grow continuously and we are continuing our humanitarian support. Our open gate policy will continue. Our spending so far has surpassed $600 million. In the upcoming period, we will keep on locating [refugees] in houses or camps."