'Assad regime should be the main target,' President Erdoğan says

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ISTANBUL
Published 13.10.2014 12:29 Modified 13.10.2014 14:28
'Assad regime should be the main target,' President Erdoğan says

Removing the terrorist ISIS group from Syria is not enough, removing President Bashar al-Assad regime should be the main target, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday.

In an address from Istanbul's Marmara University, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated the necessity of forming a no-fly zone and a safe zone in Syria, along with continuing the U.S.-led international airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria's north.

ISIS is currently advancing on the town of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobani in Kurdish, resulting in the escape of around 200,000 Syrian Kurds into Turkey over the last three weeks. Armed groups of an offshoot of Turkey's outlawed PKK, are continuing their fight against ISIS, outmatching in numbers and technological capacities.

"Syria has many Kobanis. What will happen to Aleppo, Latakia, Turkmen and other people after saving Kobani? Assad regime should be the target for a real solution in Syria," Erdoğan said, reminding that the regime is responsible for the killing of 250,000 people in Syria.

"A no-fly zone and a safe zone should be built. So we could be able to place the Syrians inside our country at these safe havens," he said.

"Also the moderates should be trained and equipped either in Turkey or inside those safe zones in order to be able to conduct their war against the regime."

He also criticized PKK's claims that the Turkish government was doing nothing to halt the advance of the ISIS in Kobani, which sparked last week's protests, killing 34 people.

He also criticized the leftist People's Democratic Party, or HDP, for calling the people to take it to the streets in support for Kobani.

Erdoğan said "the artifically-made" borders in the Middle East drawn by the imperial powers right after the end of World War I are the real cause of long-term pain and crisis in the region.

Saying that "there should be no borders between Middle Eastern countries in the minds and hearts of the people," Erdoğan noted that Turkey should do its own part in fighting with sectarianism, ethnicism and all other divisions in the Middle East.

"Turkey is the only country that could provide peace in that region. Turkey is the hope of the Middle Eastern people. Turkey can remove the barriers between Middle Eastern people not by changing physical borders, but by instilling hope and trust," he said.

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