Turkey calls on Syrian president to stop violence
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appealed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to put an end to the country's violent crackdown on opponents of his regime, the semi-official Anatolia Agency reported Tuesday.
In a telephone call, Erdogan also urged Assad to implement reforms immediately, dpa reported
Assad had called Erdogan to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday's election, in which the premier's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a third consecutive term in parliament.
In recent years, Turkey and Syria have worked on improving political and economic ties, and Erdogan is believed to be one of the few remaining leaders who has open communication with Assad.
On Friday, Erdogan issued his harshest critique so far of the Syrian regime's crackdown on anti-government protesters that began in March, calling it "inhumane."
He has said Turkey will keep its 820-kilometre-long border with Syria open to Syrians fleeing the violence and repression in their country.
Turkish authorities say at least 7,000 people so far have crossed the border into the southernmost Turkish province of Hatay, where they are being housed in tent cities set up by the Turkish Kizilay (Red Crescent).