Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has welcomed a resolution on Syria unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Friday, saying it is important as it shows a consensus on chemical weapons and is the first forceful decision on Syria.
However, he also stated that the resolution is not sufficient to stop the violence in Syria, reiterating that the threat against civilians continues in Syria as long as any weapons are used.
In a televised interview on Saturday in New York, where he went to attend the 68th meeting of the UN General Assembly, Davutoglu said that Turkey had held deep discussions on the Syrian issue with the US, France and Britain, as well as Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and explained that he had exerted great efforts to ensure that the resolution includes those points which Turkey deems significant.
Describing the UNSC resolution as an important decision on Syria, Davutoglu restated Turkey's concerns about the use of conventional weapons by the regime against its opponents.
"This decision of the UNSC is important, as it created an agreement on chemical weapons and it is the first powerful decision on Syria. ... It is important but not sufficient. One of the points that we want to see in Syria is the cessation of the use of conventional weapons, aerial bombing and the use of Scud missiles and mortars. With this resolution the Syrian crisis is not resolved or finished. This can be seen as a milestone in defusing the crisis," he said.
The UN resolution demands that Syria give up its chemical arms but falls short of requiring military force against the Syrian regime if it fails to comply. The council will need to adopt another resolution to impose sanctions under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which gives permission for military and non-military action to promote peace and security if the regime does not comply.
Speaking before the UNSC vote on Friday, Davutoglu claimed to see light at the end of the tunnel for the Syrian crisis and noted that the missing element of the resolution was a solution to humanitarian problems. However, he said that some members of the UNSC support a second resolution that will also address the humanitarian situation in the country.
Davutoglu also touched on the advantages of the UNSC draft resolution. "The charter does not ignore past atrocities" committed by the Syrian regime, he said.
One provision of the resolution, which was also welcomed by Davutoglu, formally endorses a plan for a political transition in Syria that was agreed at an international conference in Geneva in June 2012.
The draft resolution was followed by intense negotiations between the US and Russia, as the latter opposed punitive action against the Syrian regime. Russia's opposition to sanctions against Bashar al-Assad's regime urged the US to drop a plan for punitive air strikes on the regime's forces and settle for the regime's delivery of its chemical weapons to the international community. Washington and Moscow reached an agreement in Geneva on Sept. 13 to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control for subsequent destruction, to which the Assad government agreed.
While Turkey welcomed the resolution on Syria adopted by the UNSC, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari urged countries supporting Syria's rebels -- Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and the US -- to abide by the resolution as well.
'Turkey content with US-Iran dialogue'
Commenting on the decreased tension between Turkey's NATO ally, the US, and neighboring Iran, Davutoglu expressed his satisfaction with the improvement in ties and said Turkey has exerted great efforts -- both directly and indirectly -- to lessen these tensions from the beginning.
"If the relations between one of [OUR] allies and our closest neighbor are normalized, we benefit from this [development]. Imagine if the sanctions [against Iran because of its nuclear program] are lifted. Our trade volume with Iran, which is $25 billion, can rise to $100 billion immediately. This is not an unrealistic number, nor a dream. We are happy with the meetings between Iran and the US," he said.