Turkey tells Syria: make reforms now

March 30, 2011 at 10:19 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkey tells Syria: make reforms now
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As Syrian protests turned increasingly violent in recent days, Turkey urged the country’s administration to make reforms “without delay,” an adviser to the Turkish president has said.

“Waiting for the protests to end to make reforms is the wrong approach. Necessary reforms should be made now, not later. Leaders should be brave,” Erşat Hürmüzlü, adviser to President Abdullah Gül on the Middle East, told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview on Monday.

Syria is a very important country for Turkey, Hürmüzlü said, recalling that this country is in a significant process of transformation. “The system, stability and demands of the Syrian people are all equally important for us,” he said. The Syrian leader should apply immediately “whatever they believe in without waiting for other accounts,” Hürmüzlü said.

Citing indirectly the aspect of the Syrian administration that resists reforms, Hürmüzlü said some defects could occur in the administrative systems such as corruption or being privileged. “Yet, leaders should push them,” he said.

Syrian authorities accused fundamentalists and “armed gangs” of aiming to incite unrest in the country after the demonstrations turned violent in recent days.

Giving Turkey as an example for its recent transformation, Hürmüzlü said: “We, as Turkey, faced our mistakes and made reforms. We changed our minds rather than laws. Economic and social-cultural changes follow that. Changing the vision is more important than changing laws. Implementers of law may resist, however, a complete change of mind can pave the reforms,” he said.

Hürmüzlü drew attention to the differences between Syria and other Arab countries. “Similarly, the people of the region are pouring into the streets not for food, but for their dignity. The difference is that the foreign policy and domestic policy of other Arab countries, such as in Egypt, was kept separate. The expectations of the people were not reflected in foreign policies,” he said.

However, foreign policy and people’s expectations almost overlap in Syria, Hürmüzlü said, adding that this was the reason Syria was the last country to witness protests, he added.

The adviser is optimistic that the protests would not end with a change of regime. “The reforms can respond to the demands of the Syrian people. It would be an easy transformation if the Syrian administration can make significant reforms on human rights and democracy and find solutions in the struggle against corruption,” Hürmüzlü said.

“There have been coups and monarchic republics. A normal birth of regimes can only come with election polls,” he said, adding that the systems in the Middle East were created very late, 20 years after the Cold War had finished. He recalled Turkey also suffered similar troubles, but transformed easier.

He ruled out that foreign countries’ intervention caused uprisings in Arab countries. “Some say that these uprisings came one after another because some circles pushed the button for the natural resources of these countries. Saying someone pushed the button is an insult for people of the region,” he said. Hürmüzlü described the reaction of those people as a “burst of anger, which was suppressed for many years by fear.”

Asked about the criticisms against Turkey for not voicing a stronger stance on democracy for countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which also have been facing revolts, Hürmüzlü said Turkey would not impose anything on other countries. People of the region could observe what Turkey had been doing in the name of democracy and they could inspire, he said. “Turkey can’t be a sub-contractor.”

For the case of Bahrain, Gulf states not only sent troops to the conflict-hit country, but also supported it financially with $10 billion to help Bahrain make reforms, Hürmüzlü said. “States in the region should solve their problems within the region. They should not seek solutions outside the region by delegating to powerful countries as sub-contractors,” he said.

Asked about Turkey’s shift in policy regarding NATO intervention in Libya, Hürmüzlü said Turkey opposed a military occupation to change regime in Libya. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s remarks ruling out NATO intervention in Libya were to prevent an illegitimate military occupation of the country, he said.

”We don’t want Libya to turn into an Iraq. No country or countries independently can decide to intervene in another state. That decision should be taken within the scope of international laws.”

Hürmüzlü said Ankara’s attitude to NATO’s role in Libya should be considered as “before and after the U.N. Security Council decision on the issue.”

“The U.N. decision presented international legitimacy,” he said.

© 2009 Hurriyet Daily News
URL: www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=ankara-calls-syrian-president-for-courageous-and-immediate-decision-on-reforms-2011-03-29

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