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Deputy PM does abrupt about-face on Turkey’s Syria policy

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Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who said on Thursday that Turkey’s Syria policy had been fraught with mistakes since the very beginning, changed his tune only two days later and said that Turkey’s position was without a doubt correct.

Kurtulmuş had said in an interview on Thursday that he believed Turkey’s Syria policy was wrong and that the government was now trying to fix it. However, since critics cited his remarks as an admission of guilt on the part of the government, Kurtulmuş quickly changed his position.

In an interview with Rudaw TV, Kurtulmuş said Turkey sided with the people of Syria but that its efforts alone were not enough to end the war. Kurtulmuş claimed that he also meant the international community in his previous critical remarks.

In contrast to his earlier comments, Kurtulmuş said that “there is no doubt that Turkey’s stance in Syria was right,” and instead criticized the international community for not giving enough support to Turkey to start a democratic process in Syria.

“Even though we had adopted the right stance, we were not able to develop policies to consolidate that stance,” Kurtulmuş added, in contradiction to his earlier criticism of the government’s policies.

Kurtulmuş was a staunch critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan until he was offered a position in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2012. When he was still a political rival, Kurtulmuş had strongly criticized corruption and said that the AKP leaders had come to power without any wealth but became rich during their term in power.

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