Turkey PM backs UN vote on Syria
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday voiced support for a UN resolution condemning Syria's deadly crackdown on protests, and said he would soon announce sanctions on the neighbouring country.
European nations have proposed a draft resolution at the Security Council that calls Syria's crackdown "unacceptable".
"The draft resolution before the council today is in the nature of sending a warning. We hope there will a positive outcome of this vote and that there will then be further discussions about whatever further steps need to be taken," he told a news conference during a visit to South Africa.
"Of course this situation is causing us sadness, because we are after all looking for justice and world peace," he said.
"We can no longer remain spectator to the developments in Syria. There are serious deaths of innocent, defenceless people. We cannot say 'this should continue'," Erdogan said.
South Africa holds one of the rotating seats on the Security Council and joined India and Brazil in August in urging an end to the violence.
The prime minister said he would this weekend or next week visit the camps of Hatay, near the Syrian border, where thousands of Syrians have taken refuge.
"We'll announce a roadmap regarding sanctions after a visit to Hatay," said Erdogan.
"We have already partially announced certain steps that cannot wait any longer," he added.
Turkey has expressed frustration with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for failing to listen to the people, whose almost daily pro-democracy rallies have been met with violent repression, at a cost of more than 2,600 lives according to the UN.
Last month, Turkey stopped a shipload of weapons destined for Syria.
© 2011 AFP