* Ankara losing patience with former ally
* Turkey has given sanctuary to 10,000 Syrian refugees
ANKARA, June 20 (Reuters) - Turkish President Abdullah Gul
said on Monday that a speech on reforms by Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad was "not enough", and added that Assad should
transform Syria into a multi-party system.
"Assad should clearly and precisely say: 'Everything has
changed. We're transforming the system into a multi-party one.
Everything will be organised according to the Syrian's people
will, and I will be carrying out this process'," Gul said, in
the latest sign Turkey is losing patience with its former ally.
Turkey, which until recently enjoyed warm relations with
Syria, has called on Assad several times immediately to halt a
violent crackdown on protesters and pass democratic reforms.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the crackdown as
"savagery", while Turkey has given sanctuary to some 10,000
Syrian refugees who have streamed across the border.
Ankara repeated that message last week to Hassan Turkmani,
Assad's envoy, who held talks in Ankara with Erdogan and Turkish
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Under mounting international pressure, and with protest
spreading despite a military crackdown that has killed more than
1,300 people, Assad on Monday promised reforms within months. He
said "saboteurs" among the protesters were serving a foreign
conspiracy to sow chaos.
Opponents said his proposals did not meet popular demands
for sweeping political change.
Ersat Hurmuzlu, an advisor to Gul, told the Dubai-based
al-Arabiya channel on Sunday that Assad has less than a week to
start implementing long-promised political reforms demanded by
Syrian protesters, or face "foreign intervention". He did not
spell out what this meant.
The European Union, which expressed disappointment at
Assad's speech, said it was preparing to expand its sanctions on
Syria in response to worsening violence against his opponents.
More than 10,000 Syrian refugees have already crossed into
Turkey. Turkish officials say a further 10,000 are sheltering
close to the border just inside Syria in the olive groves and
rich farmland around the town of Jisr al-Shughour.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia;
Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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