Syria Experiments with Absurdity, Issues Turkey Travel Warning

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Syria, the country mired in a never-ending, devastating war after the government responded to peaceful protests with violence, is now warning its citizens not to travel to Turkey, because of "violence of [Prime Minister] Erdogan's government against peaceful protesters." This is getting a bit absurd, even for Syria. 

Erdogan used to be an ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, so, as the Wall Street Journal notes, the Syrian leader is apparently indulging in a bit of shadenfreude this weekend as Turkish citizens take to the streets to protest the Prime Minister's decade-long tenure. Syrian state media has been wall-to-wall with Turkish protest coverage, using the same language to describe the scene there that international media used to discuss the early unrest in Syria: 

“The Turkish police fired tear gas against the protesters who tried to throw stones…Helicopter launched tear gas on residential neighborhoods, while photos on YouTube showed armored police truck hit [sic] a protester.” (via the WSJ

And on Sunday, Syria turned the dial to 11 on the absurdity meter by declaring Turkey, due to the unrest, unsafe for its citizens. Syria, where at least 80,000 have been killed and over 1 million displaced (at least 370,000 of whom have fled to Turkey) since unrest began there in March of 2011, had this to say about Turkey, via Reuters

"The foreign ministry advises Syrian citizens against travel to Turkey for the time being for their own safety, because of the deteriorating security situation in several Turkish cities...and the violence of Erdogan's government against peaceful protesters."

Protests in dozens of Turkish cities have led to over 1,700 arrests in three days, according to the BBC. Police used water canons and tear gas against demonstrators, prompting many to condemn their agressive response. The protests began against government plans to demolish an Istanbul park (the last public green space in the city) and build a shopping mall in its place. But they've since expanded into a general expression of anti-Erdogan sentiment. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.