Syria at 'point of no return': Turkish president
Syria has reached a "point of no return" in the regime's crackdown on opposition demonstrators, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Wednesday during his state visit to Britain.
"Unfortunately Syria has come to a point of no return," Gul said in a speech, adding that the whole region could be dragged into "turmoil and bloodshed" by the crisis.
His comments come after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go, branding him a coward and warning he risked the same fate of dictators who met bloody deaths.
Gul told an audience in London that the fate of Syria, where the risk of civil war is looming, was "important for the entire region, since the country sits on top of sectarian fault lines".
"In fact, not only for Syria, but for the entire region we have a responsibility to defend the territorial integrity and political unity of the countries at all cost," he added.
"New and old divisions between and within the countries of the region should not be allowed to take root."
Gul warned: "Defining this democratic struggle along the sectarian, religious and ethnic lines would drag the whole region into turmoil and bloodshed."
The United Nations says more than 3,500 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the protests first broke out in Syria in March.
© 2011 AFP