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Turkey to Assad: Transition out or face the ICC

January 23rd, 2014
02:44 PM ET

Turkey: Indict Assad over Syria photos

The transcript of Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu can be found here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should take peace talks seriously and transition out of power, or face the International Criminal Court, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

Responding to photos that allegedly prove systematic torture and killing by the Syrian regime, Davutoglu, said “those photos are clear evidences … this is a crime against humanity.”

Davutoglu spoke with Amanpour from Montreux, Switzerland, where world powers are trying to broker an improbable peace in Syria.

Amanpour was the first to report, with the Guardian on Monday, on an investigation alleging that the Syrian regime is murdering prisoners on a mass scale. The investigation was authored by a team of international legal and forensic experts and based on thousands of photographs provided by a Syrian defector.

“All of those who committed this crime must be accountable,” Davutoglu said. “We should not be doing the same mistake like what happened in Srebrenica.”

“In Srebrenica some people tried to turn their eye and some tried to ignore Srebrenica for some time. But Srebrenica has happened and it was a shame for international community.”

Amanpour pointed out that Slobodan Milošević, the president of Yugoslavia and Serbia, was indicted by a United Nations tribunal.

Should Assad, too, be indicted, she asked.

“Yes,” Davutoglu said.

The Syrian regime “must decide what to do,” he said.

Either they take the negotiations in Switzerland seriously, and establish a transitional government, “or the alternative is the International Criminal Court.”

Syria, he said, needs a transitional government formed by those who do not have “blood in their hands.”

If the international community just sits on the side-lines, and does not “protect international order,” history will be a harsh judge.

“Otherwise, all of us, we will be responsible … in front of history and human conscience.”

There was some diplomatic hullaballoo earlier this week over Iran’s attendance at the Syria talks; the UN invited Iran only to rescind the invitation soon after, amid protests by the U.S. and others that Iran had not agreed to the framework behind the new round of talks.

“There was a misunderstanding or maybe there was a change of positions,” Davutoglu said. “But at the end of the day, Iran is an important region country, can contribute to this process as part of a solution.”

He did say, however, that everyone should agree to the framework, which calls for the transitional government to be formed by mutual consent of both sides in Syria’s civil war.

“Otherwise everything will be discussed again and again,” he said.

Turkey, with a fast-growing and modernizing economy, has been an increasingly powerful kingmaker in its region.

But that image has been tarnished over the past year by the crackdown on massive protests, corruption scandals, a purge of the police and judiciary, and more.

“There is no doubt that there is rule of law in Turkey,” Davutoglu said. “There are three basic principles of the success of Turkey in last 10 years: very strong democracy and democratization process, a very dynamic economy and very active and efficient diplomacy.”

“I think all those observers, objective observers, would agree that there is not any other country which had such a success story in the last 10 years. So we are self-confident; our democracy will be stronger.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode • Syria • Turkey
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. crinnnnge

    Another Iraq . Another 100000 dead due to foreign interference (the European/nordic greed for treasure islands)

    January 24, 2014 at 1:05 am | Reply
  2. Mohamed Bin Salaah

    How about Turkish genocide in Armenia.

    January 24, 2014 at 2:59 am | Reply
  3. Charles Maduka

    Nobody outside Turkey takes the AKP led Govt serious anymore. They are in cahoots with Alqaeda in Syria, using Turkey as transit route into Syria for jihadists and weapons.
    The same people who sack hundreds of Police and judges for investigating corruption wants to preach morality to Syria. Disgusting.

    January 24, 2014 at 3:51 am | Reply
  4. Yuri

    This remnant of a sick culture and race, responsible for horrible genocide against millions of innocent Christians in Anatolia, preaches about "crimes against humanity"!. Such an example of shameless hypocrisy running rampant in the Muslim world.

    January 24, 2014 at 4:25 am | Reply
  5. banasy©

    @Yuri. You make it sound so bad.

    January 25, 2014 at 6:30 am | Reply
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    @banasy. Yes he does. But I must agree with Yuri's assessment as it is right on the money.

    January 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  7. Laurent Fourier

    When you have crimes against humanity committed by all sides in a never-ending war, allegations by third parties become somewhat less meaningful. There is no easy fix in Syria and the international community has failed miserably. As for the arguments put forward by the Turkish Foreign Minister, I would ask him to prove to the international community first that the truckloads of weapons delivered to Syria via Turkey by his own government have not been used in any such crimes. Naive good intentions alone cannot be the basis of a nation's foreign policy.

    January 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  8. Chrissy

    True @ Joey. Turkey is under duress now with so many refugees which is why they are speaking out now. Prior to that they were aiding the rebels, which does include Al Qudada. And glad you got my message. I just KNEW you would like this blog!

    January 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Reply
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    I totally agree, chrissy.

    January 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Reply
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