World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish president has expressed concern that further escalation of violence in Syria would force larger numbers of Syrians to flee into Turkey, which already shelters nearly 24 thousand Syrians in camps along the country's border with its southern neighbor.
"Our concern and fear is that if things go much worse there can be a massive influx of migrants, which we had endured in the past when the first war in Iraq sent 500 thousand people just over a night," Abdullah Gul told a televised interview on SKY Arabia television, adding that Turkey's experience with Iraqi migrants back in 1990 also meant a giant security risk.
Gul said regional instability in the Middle East and Turkey's Arab neighbors could reach unprecedented dimensions if efforts to contain it remained unsuccessful.
"Our only wish is that our neighbors in the region create an environment where they can live peacefully with their own people and other countries," Gul said.
The Turkish president said his country supported joint envoy Kofi Annan's plan to stop violence in Syria, the plan could only be a remedy if it was implemented in its entirety.
"More than 600 people have been killed after the announcement of the Annan plan. This is a last chance. If it fails, I can't think of what comes after," Gul said.
Gul also rejected allegations that Syrian army defectors were trained in Turkey.
"There are soldiers among people who fled to Turkey and to Jordan. It is out of question that Turkey trains them," Gul said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mayıs 2012, 10:45