“We won't send soldiers [to Syria], won't intervene and won't allow and create conditions for others to intervene,” Bülent Arınç, Turkey's deputy prime minister told a local TV station in Bursa. Arınç, who is also the government's spokesman, said any foreign intervention will create divisions not only in Syria but across the region as well. He added that incidents in Syria are developing along ethnic lines and sectarianism is also playing a role.
Arınç's remarks came at a time when Syria's armed opposition groups asked Turkey to create a buffer zone to shelter anti-regime fighters. Lt. Salem Odeh, a defector from Latakia, told Reuters this week that historic and religious ties with Turkey that go back to the Ottoman Empire mean Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's opponents -- generally wary of outside interference -- would accept a Turkish military role.
“I just hope there will be a Turkish military intervention. It's better, and they have longstanding blood ties from old times, and they are closer to the East than the West,” he added.
Citing Israeli security officials, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Thursday that they believe Turkey is moving toward a military intervention in Syria, in order to create a secure buffer zone for opposition activists. Accordingly, Turkey is expected to set up secure buffer zones on its border with Syria that would allow armed opposition groups to organize against the Syrian regime from bases protected by the Turkish military, according to Haaretz.
However, Arınç categorically ruled out any discussion among government circles that Turkey is considering military intervention. “There is absolutely no such thing,” he underlined. “Some Turkish politicians and some countries are saying Turkey will intervene in Syria. This is totally wrong. This is impossible, we don't think of it.”
Turkish President Abdullah Gül, on an official visit to Britain, said this week that change is inevitable in Syria, but said this should come from within Syria, not through external intervention. Earlier, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke of the fate of defeated dictators from Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini to Muammar Gaddafi and bluntly told Assad to step down.
Arınç also ruled out the possibility of Turkey directing events in Syria and added that developments in the country are Syria's internal affairs. He urged the Syrian government to refrain from using weapons against those who demand rights and demanded that the authority enact reforms immediately, go to elections, strengthen democracy and increase political participation in order to represent all opposition groups in Parliament.
Arınç added that Turkey is only urging Syrian authorities not to use tanks in the face of these demands and that this means “you are fighting against your own people.” The Turkish minister's rejection of any intervention stands in contrast to Turkish diplomats' earlier comments that Turkey may intervene if there is a huge influx of Syrian refugees fleeing violence or a large-scale massacre.
The deputy prime minister added that Turkey is closely monitoring Syria and that the Turkish government's close relations with the Assad family and government are well known, adding that there is now a despotic regime.