The comments from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, long one of Assad’s fiercest critics, came as US President Barack Obama said he was considering a narrow, limited US response to last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria.
“It can’t be a 24-hour hit-and-run,” Erdoğan told reporters at a reception in the presidential palace in the capital, Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
Erdoğan cited the NATO operation against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo war in 1999 as an example.
“If it is something like the example of Kosovo, the Syrian regime won’t be able to continue,” he said.
Erdoğan said he would have bilateral discussions with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit next week.
The United States has ramped up its preparation this week for the possibility of launching unilateral American military action against Syria as Britain opted out in a stunning vote by Parliament while Turkey expressed its readiness to join an anti-Syria coalition.
Turkey earlier said it could join an international coalition to take action against the Syrian regime. As Ankara is readying itself for a possible military operation against Syria, the Turkish army has deployed a number of missiles in southern border provinces.
Assessing the remarks of US Secretary of State John Kerry who made a case for the Syria intervention in a speech in the State Department on Friday that a Western strike on Syria could take place before G-20 summit, slated for Sept. 6-7 in northern Russia city of St. Petersbourg.
US President Barack Obama said on Friday that any operation against Syria will be limited, without boots on the ground and will only constitute a response to the use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb.
The US says 1,429 people, including 426 children died in the chemical attack in the Damascus suburb last Wednesday, citing intelligence reports. That is a far higher death toll than has been reported elsewhere; the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says the attack outside Damascus killed 355.
The most likely military option would be Tomahawk cruise missile strikes from five Navy destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean. At a minimum, Western forces are expected to strike targets that symbolize Assad’s military and political might.
Turkey has emerged as one of Assad’s most vocal critics and has been a staunch supporter of the opposition fighters.
Asked about whether Ankara needs a renewed parliamentary motion that authorizes the government to conduct cross-border operations in Syria, Erdoğan said the he is not sure if it is necessary to recall Parliament, which is in recess and will convene on Oct. 1.
Following shells hitting the southern Turkish district of Akçakale last October that killed five Turkish civilians, Parliament endorsed a motion that granted the government an authority to undertake a cross-border operation in Syria. The motion expires on Oct. 4.
Erdoğan said the president has authority if Parliament is in recess, implying that the president could make a decision regarding military action instead of Parliament at an extraordinary time.
‘Without a political strategy, military strikes not to produce substantive results’
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said military strikes against Syria will not likely produce substantive results without a genuine political strategy that will bring a political solution to the simmering conflict that is consuming the war-torn country, which has already left more than 100,000 people dead.
Speaking to the reporters, Gül said Ankara can’t remain outside of the picture as events in the region are directly affecting Turkey, with nearly 500,000 refugees taking shelter in the country after fleeing Syria.
“There would be a political and diplomatic solution to the problem. Russia and Iran somehow should be included in the process,” Gül said, assserting that the limited punitive strikes will not yield wanted results on ending the prolonged conflict.
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said Turkey has no doubts about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying that President Assad must be overthrown.
In the meantime, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel said the Turkish army is ready for any scenario regarding the looming international military action against Syria, adding that there are preparations in line with a motion which gives authority to the army to conduct operations if necessary.