Tags: Turkey | Syria | Cease-Fire | Stillborn Baby

Turkish President: Syrian Cease-Fire Was a 'Stillborn Baby'

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Friday, 23 September 2016 08:03 AM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the Syrian ceasefire as a "stillborn baby," saying there was a period of time the deal was to have been evaluated but the fighting was not "significantly interrupted," and he blames the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a deadly attack on a humanitarian convoy heading into Aleppo.

"A period of 48 hours was initiated, and then a week was discussed, if the first 48 hours was a successful one, but it never happened," Erdogan told NBC News' Ayman Mohyeldin in an exclusive interview airing in part on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Friday.

Further, speaking to Mohyeldin through a translator, Erdogan commented that there was little doubt who was responsible for the attack.

"The killer responsible for that attack is Assad's regime itself," Erdogan said. "This bombing was performed by Assad's regime, at the end of which we have once again clearly seen the character, the identity, of Assad's regime in Syria."

The region where the airstrikes occurred should have been "officially declared as a no-fly zone," he continued, "and unfortunately no leader from around the world seemed to have agreed. They have been talking about this necessity from time to time but no concrete step had been taken forward."

The Turkish leader also spoke out strongly about the United States' working with Russia on Syria, and the possibility that the cooperation could lead to Assad remaining in office.

"At least 600,000 people were killed in Syria, and the soul responsible for those killings is who you refer to," said Erdogan. "Do you think we can keep him in power in Syria? How are we going to ask for repentance from those people that have died if we keep Assad in power?"

Erdogan, though, was more diplomatic when it comes to who will become the next president of the United States, saying he would not pick a side between GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

However, he said he doesn't think Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States would be "remotely possible," as "many things can be said throughout the rallies before elections, and things will turn out to be very different post-elections."

As for which candidate would have a better relationship with Turkey, Erdogan told the reporter that he was "entrapping" him, and he was "not going to fall into that trap."

"The best thing for me is to see the will of the people being served in the United States, the choice of the American people will be the right choice," the president replied.

Mohyeldin commented after the interview that Erdogan feels "very comfortable" after an attempted coup on July 15, "in the way he described that Turkish democracy survived because people of Turkey have been able to put down this coup.

"He was critical of the west for harboring terrorists. There's an ongoing dispute with the U.S. in terms of wanting to extradite someone they believe was involved in planning and masterminding that coup. He had strong words for the U.S. for not turning him over."

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the Syrian ceasefire as a "stillborn baby," saying there was a period of time the deal was to have been evaluated...
Turkey, Syria, Cease-Fire, Stillborn Baby
Friday, 23 September 2016 08:03 AM
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