'Dialogue with Assad like shaking Hitler's hand', Davutoglu

Turkish prime minister lashes out at Kerry's suggestion

17 March, 18:12

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, MARCH 17 - Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry for suggesting talks with Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, calling it the equivalent of ''shaking hands with Hitler''. Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since the beginning of the uprising taken the side of the armed, predominantly Sunni rebellion that followed Assad's heavy-handed crackdown on democracy protests in Syria. ''If you sit down with Assad and shake hands, it will never be erased from the memory of the conscience of humanity,'' he added, claiming that voices in the West which say there is a need to negotiate with Assad ''stain the human conscience''.

    ''Despite all these massacres, despite the use of chemical weapons that crossed the red line, if you still shake the hand of Assad, that handshake will be remembered throughout history,'' he said in a speech broadcast live. Erodgan has repeatedly been accused of helping Syrian armed jihadist groups such as the Islamic State and the local Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra with the aim of bringing down Assad at any cost to replace it with a 'Muslim Brotherhood' government.

    Damascus claims that Turkey is to blame for the bloodshed in Syria over the past four years. Speaking in front of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Davutoglu said that ''there is no difference if you shake hands with Hitler, or Milosevic, or Radovan Karadzic or Saddam Hussein or Assad''. Up until the beginning of the fighting in Syria, Erdogan and Assad had amicable relations, and their families had spent some holidays together. The fighting over the past four years in Syria have resulted in 200,000 dead, including over 60,000 civilians. (ANSAmed).

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