Syria to Turkey: Stop Repressing Your People

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 1 2013 4:01 PM

Syria Calls on Turkey to Stop Violently Repressing Peaceful Protests

169771805
Demonstrators face police Saturday during a march to parliament and the prime minister's office in Ankara

Photo by -/AFP/Getty Images

It sounds like a bad joke out of the Twilight Zone but it’s all too real. Syria’s minister of information told official media that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan “should resign” if he “is unable to pursue non-violent means” to end growing protests.  Syria’s Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi “added that Erdogan leads his country in a terrorist way and is destroying the civil character of the Turkish people, reiterating that the Turkish people's demands do not deserve all this violence,” notes the report by SANA.

Erdogan was once an ally of President Bashar al-Assad, but turned against him after the Syrian regime violently suppressed protests, a move that led to a violent civil war that has killed at least 80,000 people, reports Reuters. As tone deaf as the comments by Assad’s regime may be, what is going on in Turkey right now is no laughing matter. Thousands of protesters gathered to reoccupy a central park in Istanbul after police violently attacked peaceful protesters who wanted to prevent the construction of a shopping mall at Taksim Gezi Park, reports Bloomberg. The protests were about the park, which has long been a site of political protest, but now have become “the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years,” according to Reuters, and protesters are calling for Erdogan to resign.  

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.