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Turkey-Syria Ties Worsened on Muslim Brotherhood, Hurriyet Says

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey and Syria’s relationship deteriorated because President Bashar al-Assad didn’t allow the Muslim Brotherhood to establish a political party, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem told Hurriyet newspaper.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reversed a decade of improving ties after Assad stopped short of the Turkish leader’s repeated requests to allow the Brotherhood to organize in the country, Muallem told the Istanbul-based newspaper in an interview in Damascus. Syria would only agree to let formerly banished members of the group return to start a dialog, he said.

Syria was “a little late” in enacting reforms, yet the process will move at the country’s own pace and not at the behest of the international community, Muallem said, according to Hurriyet. He advised his counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, to review Turkey’s policies and “not lose Syria forever,” Hurriyet reported.

Assad’s government “wants this violence to stop tomorrow,” Muallem told Hurriyet, adding that while Syria doesn’t anticipate a foreign military intervention, the government is ready to defend the country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emre Peker in Ankara at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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