ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced his support for overnight airstrikes conducted by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France against the Syrian regime in response to last week’s chemical attack on eastern Ghouta.
Addressing a crowd during the sixth ordinary district congress of his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party in Istanbul, Erdogan described the joint action as “appropriate.”
“With the joint operation by US, UK, and France on Saturday, the Syrian regime received the message that its massacres wouldn’t be left unanswered,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“The innocent Syrian people should have been defended long ago,” he stated.
Erdogan added that he would “stay in close contact” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s years-long civil war since 2015.
“We will talk with [Putin] and America today, [or] tomorrow,” the Turkish leader noted.
Ankara, a NATO ally, has opposed Assad’s regime since the start of the civil war in 2011 but has aligned itself closer to the Syrian President’s allies Iran and Russia in recent months.
Turkey has also clashed with the US regarding America’s support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against the Islamic State.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, meanwhile, echoed Erdogan’s remarks regarding the strikes on Syria, stating the action should have come a long time ago.
“This [Assad] regime should no longer govern Syria. If the regime continues to conduct attacks in the future, trouble will get bigger,” he warned.
“We need to get to the political process as soon as possible,” Cavusoglu added. “We need to save Syria from the current regime.”
An alleged chemical attack on the last rebel-held region in eastern Ghouta on April 7 that killed dozens of people was blamed on the Syrian regime, despite its repeated denial that it was responsible.