Turkish PM urges Syria over reform demands

AFP - Turkey advised Syria to "positively respond" to people’s demands for reform, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.

"We advised Mr. Assad that responding to people’s years-old demands positively with a reformist approach would help Syria to overcome the problems more easily," Erdogan told journalists before leaving Ankara for a visit to Iraq.

Erdogan said he talked to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad twice in the last three days and spoke of Turkey’s "sensitivity" on events in Syria.

"We have a border of 800 kilometers (with Syria) and we have family relations. We cannot remain silent," Erdogan said.

He said Assad did not say "No" to his calls for reform and he expected Assad himself to publicly announce reform plans in Syria "either today or tomorrow."

Erdogan said the chief of the National Intelligence Agency of Turkey (MIT) visited Syria Sunday for talks, and that Turkey was closely watching developments in the country.

Syria has been shaken by two weeks of anti-regime protests, forcing Syrian authorities to announce said Sunday they would end decades of emergency rule in the country.

The lifting of the country’s emergency law would end draconian conditions in place since the Baath party came to power in March 1963.

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