Turkey says 'ready for anything' on Syria if conditions met

Turkey says 'ready for anything' on Syria if conditions met

ISTANBUL - Turkey is ready to take any kind of action to combat jihadists in Syria but only if the international community creates a coordinated strategy against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Asked in an interview with CNN broadcast late Monday if Turkey could send troops into Syria, Davutoglu replied this could only happen if "others do their own part." He said that would require an integrated international strategy against Assad, and not just Islamic State (IS) jihadists, to ensure a long-term solution to the Syria crisis.

"We are ready to do everything if there is a clear strategy that after ISIS we can be sure our border will be protected," he said, using an alternative name for IS.

The Turkish government last week won parliamentary approval for military action against IS but the military has not intervened, even as jihadists move into the Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border.

"If Assad stays in power, if ISIS goes, another radical organisation may come in," he warned. "Our approach should be comprehensive, inclusive and combined," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said Ankara found it "surprising and shocking" that some leaders had been suggesting to Turkey that it should collaborate with the Syrian regime in the current crisis.

"Collaborating with a Satan against another should not be the way of the international community," he commented.

He condemned recent comments by US Vice President Joe Biden suggesting Turkey encouraged the rise of IS as "unbelievable and unacceptable" but said the matter was now "over" following an apology from the gaffe-prone US number two.

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