Turkey’s Deputy PM rejects comments on Assad

Deputy Prime Minister Şimşek says his remarks at Davos event were ‘distorted’

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek on Friday rejected a “distorted” news report carrying his remarks on Bashar al-Assad.

Şimşek said his comments quoted by Russian Sputnik news agency at the World Economic Forum in Davos did not reflect the truth and his remarks were “distorted”.

Earlier, Sputnik quoted Simsek saying, “Turkey can no longer insist on an agreement without Assad.”

“I do not have any comment on Assad. That was totally distorted. This was interpretation of an international [news] agency,” Şimşek told Anadolu Agency.

“I told this; if there is a [person] responsible for the human tragedy in Syria, that is Assad. I told it was impossible to accept a state where he is in [power],” the deputy prime minister added.

In his remarks, Şimşek said the top priority was to end the human tragedy in the conflict-hit country.

Following last month’s ceasefire deal, brokered by Turkey and Russia, the Syrian government and opposition negotiators are set for talks on Jan. 23. in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.