Syria becoming ‘Mediterranean Afghanistan’: Turkey president

Syria becoming ‘Mediterranean Afghanistan’: Turkey president

LONDON - Syria could become a "Mediterranean Afghanistan" if the international community does not act to end its civil war, Turkish president Abdullah Gul warned in an interview published by the Guardian on Sunday.

Gul, who was speaking to the British newspaper during a visit to the Scottish capital Edinburgh, called the world's response "very disappointing" and said the UN Security Council's reaction had been a "disgrace".

He argued that many of the war's casualties could have been avoided if the outside world had reacted strongly to President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown against rebel forces, which he warned were now in danger of becoming radicalised.

Relations between once close allies Damascus and Ankara have deteriorated since the uprising, which began in March 2011.

The president warned he would react "in the strongest way possible" if the conflict spilled over the 900-kilometre (565-mile) border.

"But let me also say that this is not a bilateral issue between Turkey and Syria," he added in comments published on the Guardian's website.

"We did not have any conflict with Syria, but when... there was massacring of the people of Syria, then it became a matter for mankind, for us all."

Some 200,000 refugees are currently living in camps in Turkey, according to Gul.

He went on to say that the "indifference" of the international community was breeding extremism.

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