Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should transform the autocratic regime in his country into a multi-party system, following a televised address by the Syrian leader to the nation Monday.
Gul told reporters late on Monday that Assad’s speech was “not enough.”
“Assad must speak clearly and explicitly and say: Everything has changed, we are headed to a multi-party system, everything will be restructured in line with the will of the Syrian people and I will lead this transformation,” Turkey’s English-language daily Today’s Zaman quoted Gul as saying.
Earlier on Monday, Assad said dialogue could lead to a new constitution and even end his Baath party's monopoly on power, but he refused to reform Syria under "chaos."
His remarks were condemned by pro-democracy activists who vowed that the "revolution" -- now in its fourth month -- must go on.
Assad acknowledged in his televised speech that Syria had reached a "turning point," but said dialogue could lead to a new constitution and end nearly five decades of Baath party dominance -- a key opposition demand.
"We can say that national dialogue is the slogan of the next stage," Assad said. "The national dialogue could lead to amendments of the constitution or to a new constitution."
Reform was "a total commitment in the interest of the nation," he added in his third speech to the nation since the protests began in mid-March.
Assad offered condolences to the families of "martyrs" killed in the unrest rocking the country, but said there could be "no development without stability, no reform in the face of sabotage and chaos."
"We make a distinction between those (with legitimate grievances) and the saboteurs who represent a small group which has tried to exploit the goodwill of the Syrian people for its own ends," he said.
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