ANKARA — Turkey plans an international conference "as soon as possible" with regional players and world powers in a fresh attempt to resolve the Syrian crisis, its foreign minister said Wednesday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would speak on the phone with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose country voted down a UN resolution at the Security Council aimed at stopping the months-long bloodshed in Syria, he added.
"We are determined to establish a broad-based forum to promote international understanding with all countries concerned" with the developments in Syria, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised interview.
The conference could take place in Turkey or in another country but it must certainly be "in the region" and "as soon as possible", he added.
Turkey has been engaged in an active diplomacy and trying to create a "new roadmap" on Syria, Davutoglu said, announcing that Erdogan would speak with Medvedev later Wednesday. The Turkish premier had heralded Tuesday the new initiative after the collapse of the UN resolution at the weekend, while saying that the vetoes of Russia and China had given President Bashar al-Assad a "license to kill."
"We will start a new initiative with those countries that stand by the Syrian people, not the regime," said Erdogan, vowing that his government would use all diplomatic means to draw the world's attention to neighboring Syria.
The details of the Turkish-led roadmap are not yet clear but the pro-government Sabah daily reported that Ankara was planning a "friends of Syria" meeting as a first stage, in cooperation with the Arab League.
In the next stage, it would hold a broad-based conference in Istanbul involving members of the UN Security Council, the European Union, and Arabs, said the daily.
Turkish diplomatic sources declined to comment on the report.
Davutoglu said Wednesday that his country would not allow the continuing bloodshed in Syria and the region to be dragged into instability while warning the Syrian administration once again not to be isolated.
"We hope that Syria, which is at the center of the Middle East, will not be like North Korea," he said.
However he ruled out any military intervention in Syria.
Davutoglu was heading for the United States later in the day for a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for further discussions on the Syrian crisis.
He will also meet US National Security Advisor Thomas Danilon and return to Turkey on Sunday, said a statement from the foreign ministry.
Turkey, which has a 910-kilometre border (560 mile) with Syria, has been at the forefront of international criticism against Damascus since an uprising began last March and has become a haven for opposition activists.
Rights groups say more than 6,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the revolt. (AFP)