Assad Says Only 'Ballot Box' Can Decide his Future, Describes Erdogan as 'Caliph'

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Syrian President Bashar Assad said his future could only be decided through the ballot box, in an interview with Russian television where he warned the country could face a protracted war.

Assad told state-run Russia Today (RT) that whether the president can "stay or leave" is a "popular issue" and "the only way (it) can be done (is) through the ballot boxes.”

"It is not about what we hear. It is about what we can get through that box and that box will tell any president to stay or leave very simply," said the president, speaking in English.

In the interview with a Russia Today correspondent recorded in Damascus, he said the conflict with rebels could be "a long-term war" if they continued to receive support from abroad.

Assad described as "unprecedented" the support which he said the rebels were receiving from abroad in terms of arms, money and political backing.

"So, you have to expect that it is going to be a tough war and a difficult war. You do not expect a small country like Syria to defeat all those countries that have been fighting us through proxies just in days or weeks."

If the support for rebels from abroad stopped, he said, "I can tell that in weeks we can finish everything."

"But as long as you have a continuous supply in terrorists, armaments, logistics and everything else, it is going to be a long-term war."

But Assad denied that the country was in civil war as such conflicts should be "based on ethnic problems or sectarian problems".

"You have divisions, but division does not mean civil war," he added.

Assad lashed out at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing him of behaving like an Ottoman sultan and thinking he is a "caliph.”

Ties between the one-time allies Syria and Turkey have soured dramatically over the conflict between Assad's regime and rebels openly supported by Ankara that activists say has now claimed 37,000 lives.

"He (Erdogan) personally thinks that he is the new sultan of the Ottoman (empire) and he can control the region as it was during the Ottoman empire, under a new umbrella," Assad told Russia Today television.

"In his heart he thinks he is a caliph," said Assad, referring to the title used by leaders of the Islamic world from the early Arab Islamic dynasties up to the Ottoman empire.

Assad said that the mentality of Erdogan -- who leads the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) -- was to blame for collapse of relations between the Damascus regime and Ankara.

Erdogan has shifted his policy on Syria from "zero problems to zero friends," said Assad, who noted that he last spoke with Erdogan in May 2011.

Assad accused Erdogan of wanting the Muslim Brotherhood to take over the Middle East region so that "he (Erdogan) can guarantee his political future.”

Comments 67
Missing yamaha201 09 November 2012, 10:41

now ur talking about democracy?lol, btw its funny how only the russian television are just the ones interviewing him, cause he is not welcomed anywhere else :)

Thumb rssalman 09 November 2012, 12:50

orangina, ur as stupid as ur claoun, 'nough said

Missing mohammad_ca 09 November 2012, 13:59

Ask any syrian how they "vote" when the ballot is already marked when they get it...

Missing mohammad_ca 09 November 2012, 20:05

MOOwaten, first off great attempt at trying to distort the truth:
second: the "vote" if you want to call it that was had while protestors were under fire
third: ASSad refused any sort of monitors at the polls
fourth: again I repeat you act like voting is such a natural and democratic thing in Syria...and I urge you AGAIN to ask Syrians how their ballots are already marked when they go to the polls
fifth: the turnout for the "vote" was dismal at best (less than 20%)
Of course I do not expect you to know anything about democracy and voting seeing as how you support a self appointed militia that is not held accountable to anyone or anything and who hold in their hands arms that they decide to use at their own whims without having an electorate to answer to.

Thumb Elemental 09 November 2012, 21:03

Oh orangitta, so much to old are you? And have you eased off the glue sniffing before you sign on? Look from a whole perspective, you're pre-programmed to automatically respond like a robot and blurt out "wahabism" So Is the Iranian Revolutionary guard a better alternative? Please elaborate, do you enjoy being controlled by Iran and Syria? OR can you think for yourself and not care about either one of the extremes? I'll understand if your brain freezes, but give it a try.

Missing yamaha201 09 November 2012, 10:41

now ur talking about democracy?lol, btw its funny how only the russian television are just the ones interviewing him, cause he is not welcomed anywhere else :)

Missing peace 09 November 2012, 10:52

ballot box? hahahaha!!!!! in syria??? wahahihihoho! the most corrupted country??? is it a joke?

ain t that guy funny!

Thumb jedo 09 November 2012, 10:52

if hes gonne he is welcomed in Lebanon, ma its his country too!! LOL

Thumb jedo 09 November 2012, 10:53


Thumb jedo 09 November 2012, 10:53


Thumb jedo 09 November 2012, 10:53

to go gone gone <goon> LOL

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 11:17

The troubles in MENA are conjured by the Zionist Neocons in the US and Britain. Erdogan has betrayed his mandate of peace as huge protests in Turkey manifest.

The idea is that the neocons want to destabilize and eliminate the so-called Iranian Shiite Crescent of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas and replace it with the Wahhabi Muslim Brotherhood.

This was all laid out by Seymour Hersh in an article he wrote in 2007 and quoted here:

Missing mohammad_ca 09 November 2012, 14:00

Hamas came out against the regime you retard...stop your stupidity

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 22:02

Exactly correct ... Maybe the bribe from Qatar had something to do with that? ...

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 03:42

The dirt under Hamas's feet is cleaner than you and nasrallaat you POS...they have been trying to get out of Syria since the beginning of the revolution and they finally were able to make it...
ba3den for decades nasrallaat has been prasining hamas now they're traitors? sa7i7 inkon ahbiyaa2

Missing allouchi 09 November 2012, 15:18

mmckinl, Muslim brotherhood and Wahhabis are so VERY different from each other!!!...please do a little research before posting...

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 22:10

Two arms same body ...

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 03:43

they're not 2 arms of the same body ... did you know that Hamas is Muslim brotherhood? howcome they were "good" guys for the longest time? you guys are a bunch of hypocrites

Thumb lebnanfirst 09 November 2012, 20:41

@mmckini: If even a fraction of what that link's articles contained is true, then you should be very scared because the end in Syria is coming and coming fast from what I gathered after reading it.

It was King Abdullah of Jordan who first coined the Shiite Crescent metaphor not the neocons. And yes, said crescent is a danger to Arabs and should be weakened by all available means. No one wants to live under Al Faqeeh rule, at least no sane Arab would. Or, for that matter, under any Saldist, Al Quaeda or Wahabi theocratic concoction.

Thumb lebnanfirst 09 November 2012, 20:42

Saldist == Salafist

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 22:00


Indeed ... and now the Muslim Brotherhood has their eye on Jordan ...

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 03:44

and hizbollaat has their eye on Lebanon and Syria but they will be gotten rid of soon

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 12:44

I have no illusions about Assad, Iran or Hezzbollah. It is my hope that Lebanon steer clear of all this violence and find accommodation for all of its' peoples.

I do find your intolerance disappointing. I find that you jump to conclusions regarding the Hassan bombing. Iran has not attacked another country for over 200 years. Syria can be reformed by not by Wahhabis.

If you really want what is best for Lebanon you will understand all sides of the current disputes, not demonize fellow Lebanese and have concern for all the people of Lebanon. Violence will only bring pain and sorrow ...

Missing allouchi 09 November 2012, 15:14

Sorry but you are wrong, why keep in using the Wahhabis scare tactics, the VAST majority of Sunni Muslims are not Wahhabis and actually against them...But please try to understand that Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabis are VERY different from each other, at least you can deal with MB...

Thumb lebnanfirst 09 November 2012, 20:49

Come back and discuss understanding the other side when the other side becomes more rational and realistic about its philosophy and views.

- We as Lebanese have no business in championing the liberation of Palestine from the Israelis by ourselves.
- We as Lebanese have no business selling our loyalty and following an Iranian agenda that is detrimental to our well being
- We as Lebanese are fed up with everyone who is still hawking the "Arab-Israeli" cause to solely keep their boot on our neck

Enough is enough. Talk to me about tolerance when you can prove to me that the other side is willing to abide by the same set of rules instead of using weapons to intimidate and subjugate us. Enough is enough my friend.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 03:45

talks against "wahabis" and preaches against intolerance...who are you to tell Syrians who to choose as their leaders it is THEIR choice to reform and choose how they want to reform it NOT yours

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 12:46

Have you read the article I referred to?

Missing allouchi 09 November 2012, 15:23

mmckinl, I did read it (nice graphics) but it doesn't say handing power to Salafists but using them as a fighting force only and keeping close control of them. AGAIN Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabis are VERY different from each other...THE USA AND THE WEST ALREADY DEALS WITH THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.

Missing mmckinl 09 November 2012, 22:07

@ allouchi

Take a look at Libya and Iraq ... Is this what you want for Syria and Lebanon? Look at the continuing violence ...

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 03:45

hizbollaat doesn't seem to have a problem that Gaddafi and Saddam are gone do they?

Thumb habib 09 November 2012, 14:17

Mbesti ya bredoni 4ever

Missing chouf2 09 November 2012, 14:33

Assad the dog will be gone soon one way ticket to hell..

Thumb Elemental 09 November 2012, 21:07


Default-user-icon Skyfall (Guest) 09 November 2012, 15:28

@ Everybody , the ones that are scared of wahhabis and the ones that are scared of bachar, i say that we have fought during civil war the palestinians and syrians and have resisted against them as Lebanese forces. palestinians against us were mostly extremists, and syrians against us were presents from Hafez el Assad. To get to the point, we were only as christians before , fighting to preserve the lebanese identity and resist foreign invasion and we have resisted and inflicted great damage and fear among our opponents. Today the christians have their sunni and druze brothers with them. We are even in greater number to face any threat. We are just waiting for our chiite brothers to wake up and realise that this is Lebanon and not Iran and wahhabis will never take lebanon as well as iranians as long as we are all united.

Thumb lebanon_first 09 November 2012, 16:06

chimpanzee. You think your regime is a democracy?

Default-user-icon Tweety Bird (Guest) 09 November 2012, 19:25

I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat! (then looking at the picture again)I DID! I DID TAW A PUDDY TAT!

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 09 November 2012, 20:01

I wish the international community would take him on his offer and have representatives from the UN at every ballot box counting the ballots.

Missing youssefhaddad 09 November 2012, 20:47

"Why don't you let me kill them all"
" Ardogan is trying to be like me , a leader for life"
is the true meaning of what he said.

Thumb Elemental 09 November 2012, 20:59

Broken record over and over again, how much are they paying you dude? Do you get a 3 month vacation and free dental as part of your package?

Thumb Elemental 09 November 2012, 21:09

Have a cookie and go sit in your time-out corner

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 06:02

Erdogan is an Arab Islamist wanna be.
A Wahabi bottom feeder, not the type of Turk who made the nation (by rejecting Allah and Islam) in state affairs.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 06:49

Maybe Turks must get rid of YOU? Erdogan is the best thing that has happened to Turkey...Turkey is booming economically not only that they are one of the few countries EVER to have paid off their IMF loans....also Erdogan's the most popular PM in Turkey's history so no, not likely that they're going to "get rid of him"...

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 07:49

Erdogan will get rid of Turkish democracy and replace it with a religious system. They have the most journalists jailed in the world, and he is jailing many of his military political rivals. Slowly but surely, chipping away at the Great Ataturks reforms. He will turn Turkey into an Arab state. I have met many Turkish who hate Erdogan due to his Islamist tendencies.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:26

so you support wilayat elfaqeeh but you have a problem with Turkey becoming 'religious"? hypocrite...

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:28

and what sort of changes is Erdogan doing? Allowing girls to wear hijab in universities? wow that's such a big nono .. it's called religious freedom, look it up.

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:32

When you are secular, and you become 'religious' it makes you backward. Iran was secular before, in the coming years, mullah will be destroyed and its possible they lean towards secularism again. Azerbajian, mostly Shia state, is totally secular too. Turkey, formerly secular, is becoming a jihad arm pit. Erdogan is not a man with democratic aspirations, he is a dirty Islamist and he DOES seek to be caliph. Don't forget, these bloody scoundrels genocided over 1,000,000 Christians in the early 1900s. Let's not forget their barbarian roots.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:35

oh yeah i'm sure erdogan was alive back then and slaughtered people too...hey let's also blame the current Spanish population for the Inquisition and while at it all the world's Christians for the Crusades...again i ask you what changes has he made that should scare secularists?

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:40

They don't have nukes Mr Mohammad. We do. Keep dreaming.
It will stay like that for a reason until we, the offspring of the great crusaders decide otherwise. Let's give the Iranian people a chance to topple the beards before we do, however. As for the Turks, no need to nuke them yet. Just keep them out of the European Union and cause sectarian wars inside of their country to keep them weak / less dangerous.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:44

keep living in your dreams and do the rest of the world a favour and never wake up

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:48

Don't take it personal, but sometimes implementing religious freedom by Islamic standards, means imposing your way and stripping those who disagree with yours under the guise of religious principle.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:53

AGAIN what has Erdogan done to undermine "secularism" of answer

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:57

Mohammad, you obviously don't follow Turkish news. I do. I am a regular reader of Hurriyet Daily News and occasional reader of Zaman Today. You should do more reading into the situation. Islamification doesn't happen overtime. It's something they do gradually.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 09:01

So give an example of Erdogan's Islamification of Turkey

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 09:10

Mohammad, for example, he is stripping the army (guardians of Turkish secularism) of their power and continues to jail many Turkish generals for very lengthy periods. Once their powerbase is gone, nothing is stopping the likes of Erdogan's party from imposing their agenda more aggressively.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 09:19

if the army has to protect the constitution then you have a bigger problem in the country...there were generals planning a coup d'etat against him, he is elected, and the constitutional courts protect the constitution not the army

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 09:23

Well I once heard that Ataturk took the mosque away from the state, he couldn't take it away from the people. So if what you are saying, Turkey is not really secular and the army has to guard it... then I'd agree. From what people tell me, only Istanbul and Ankara are mainly 'secular'.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 09:24

so the majority of the people are not secular why hate on Erdogan?

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:29

I don't support wilayet al faqih. Nuke them both as far as I care, yalla

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:35

let's nuke you too while at sho ra2yak?

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:42

Man, how much more must the white man pay for the crimes of the crusaders? They have welcomed the door to peoples of the world, nobody more so then Muslims who have flocked there in droves. If you don't see that Erdogan is an Islamist taking Turkey backward into time, then maybe it's either your religious beliefs or sectarian ambitions. Secular Turks hate Erdogan. He is a manipulative Islamist who knows how to trick the minds of youth, much like todays Salafist movement.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 08:48

but of course you are smarter than the masses and can see right through him! re: white man...I mean look at how welcoming the "white man" was to slaves...they just wanted to give them a job, right? By the way, Turks are white too in case you haven't noticed...

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 08:53

'White man' as a figment of speech. Well, the United States in 2012 has re-elected a black man with a Muslim name as President.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 09:02

And the Syrian opposition elected a Christian as its leader

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 09:07

Yea, sure they were happy about it too. Only after their "council" was almost abolished did they decide it was in their interest to "elect" a Christian. SNC is not representative of the Syrian people, just as Assad is not. Power hungry organization.

Missing mohammad_ca 10 November 2012, 09:12

Of course they do not represent the people because they are not elected but they certainly represent the people's will to get rid of ASSad, so let's get rid of ASSad, have a transitional government run an internationally monitored election and proceed from there

Thumb kanaandian 10 November 2012, 09:27

Bashar will fall sooner then later but the Islamist threat is very real. Especially the ones who are armed and being facilitated by the Turks.

Missing greatpierro 10 November 2012, 14:33

Can you explain your support for Bashar?