I want to have your comment on this: when our President Mr.
Hollande, said that President Assad couldn't be the solution
because he was part of the problem.
Does this represent a general view
for you, and how you see this? What's your reaction?
First, the first part of my reaction is: was Hollande assigned
by the Syrian population to speak on their behalf?
That is the first question.
you as a French citizen accept a similar comment from any other
politician in this world, to say that President Hollande
shouldn't be the French President? Isn't it a humiliation to the
We look at it the same way. It's a
humiliation to the Syrian people when he says such a thing.
Doesn't it mean that he doesn't recognize them?
Second, for France as a country
that's always proud of its traditions and the principles of the
French Revolution and maybe democracy and human rights, the
first principle of that democracy is that peoples have the right
to decide who leads them.
So, it's a shame on him, for
somebody who represents the French population, to do and say
something which is against the principles of the French republic
and the French people. It's a shame on him to try to humiliate a
population with a civilized, long, deep history for thousands of
years like the Syrian people.
So, that's my reaction, and I think
it will not affect the facts in Syria, because the facts will
not be affected by certain statements.
If you had a message, one message, for Mr. Hollande and Mr.
Fabius, especially after what happened yesterday in Paris? Is it
"please cut your relations urgently with Qatar and Saudi
My message to Hollande and Fabius... be serious when you talk
about fighting terrorists.
First of all, this message has many
aspects. The first part of this message is a question:
independent to send them a message they can implement?
Actually, the French policy these
days is not independent of the American one. This is first.
So, sending a message will lead
nowhere. In spite of that, if I have a hope that there will be
some political change in France, the first one is go back to the
real, independent, friendly politics of France toward the Middle
East and toward Syria.
Second, be away from the American,
how to say, methodology, of double standards. So, if you want to
support the Syrian people - allegedly - regarding democracy and
freedom, it's better to support the Saudi people first.
If you have a problem about
democracy with the Syrian state, how could you have good
relations and friendship with the worst states in the world, the
most underdeveloped states in the world which are the Saudi and
Qatari states? So, this contradiction doesn't give credibility.
Third, it's natural for any official
to work for the sake and interest of his people. The question
that I ask in any message is:
did the French policy during the
past five years bring any good to the French people? What is the
I'm sure the answer is no, and the
proof of that answer is what I said a few years ago, that
messing with the fault line in Syria is messing with an
earthquake that will reverberate in the rest of the world, first
of all in Europe because we are the backyard of Europe,
geographically and geopolitically, so that time they said "are
I didn't, and
Charlie Hebdo happened
at the beginning of this year, and I said after that incident
that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and what happened
yesterday is another proof.
So, they need to change their policy
toward the interests of their people, and this is where we're
going to have the same interests with the French population,
mainly fighting terrorism.
So, the final message is:
when you talk about fighting terrorists.
That's my message.
French experts say that terrorists are certainly being trained
in the Middle East, and we have a lack of information. What
would be necessary to have that kind of cooperation between
Paris and Damascus?
You need first of all seriousness.
If the French government is not
serious about fighting terrorism, we wouldn't waste our time
cooperating with a country, or a government, let's say, with an
institution that is supporting terrorism.
First of all, you need to change
your policy, to have one standard regarding this and not
multiple standards, and to have that country be part of an
alliance with countries that only fight terrorism, not countries
that support terrorism and are fighting terrorism. This is a contradiction.
are the first basics of having any cooperation.
We would like to have this kind of
cooperation, not only with France, but with any country, but
this cooperation needs an atmosphere. It needs certain criteria,
and needs certain conditions.
And in the future, if the government changes, would it be
In politics you don't have friendship and emotions, you have
interests. That's my role as a politician, and
that's their role as politicians in your country.
whether they like Assad or don't like him, it's not whether I
like Hollande or not. It's not about that. My job is about what
is best for the Syrians, and what is best for the French, that's
So, in the future we don't have a
problem. The problem is the policies, not the emotions.
You just met President Putin. I mean, I don't want to ask you
what he said to you, but I want to ask you; when somebody said
that Putin is the last guy who defends the West, would you say
that? That Putin is the last head of state
who defends the Christian-Western civilization?
So he defends Western Europe?
When you talk about terrorism, it's one arena; it's not the
Syrian, Libyan, Yemeni and French arenas. It's one arena.
So, the incentive behind the Russian
coalition that they announced a few months ago before they sent
their military to Syria, is that if we don't fight terrorism in
Syria, or maybe in other parts of the world, it will be hitting
everywhere including Russia, so that's correct.
When you fight terrorism in Syria,
you're defending Russia and defending Europe and defending other
continents. That's correct.
This has been our view for decades
now, since we have been fighting against the terrorist
Brotherhood in the 1970s and 1990s. We had that impression, we
always asked for an international coalition for fighting
terrorism because terrorism doesn't recognize political borders,
doesn't care about procedures.
No matter what procedure you took in
France after Charlie Hebdo, what happened yesterday proves that
So, that's correct and that's very
precise; whoever fights terrorism, not only Putin, whoever
fights terrorism somewhere, will protect the rest of the world.
There is a conference in Vienna about Syria, and also tomorrow
in Ankara with the G20, and at several times different
presidents have said "the solution is Bashar Assad has to leave
Are you ready, personally, to leave
power if it could be the best solution to protect Syria?
This is a two-part question.
The first part, is there anything I
have to do in response to any foreign request? My answer is no.
I will not do it, no matter what that request is; small, big,
important, not important, because they have nothing to do with
the Syrian decision.
The only thing they did so far is to
support terrorists in different ways, by [providing an] umbrella
and by direct support.
They could only create problems;
they are not part of the solution. Those countries, whoever
supports terrorists, are not part of the solution in Syria. So,
whatever they say, we don't respond because we don't care about
them, to be frank.
Second, for me, as a Syrian, I have
to respond to any Syrian will. Of course, when I talk about
Syrian will, there must be a kind of consensus, the majority of
the Syrians, and the only way to know what the Syrians want is
through the ballot box. This is second.
Third, for any president, to come
and go, in any state that respects itself, respects its
civilization and respects its people, is through a political
process that reflects the constitution. The constitution will
bring the president and the constitution will make him leave,
through the parliament, through elections, through referendum,
and so on.
This is the only way for the
president to come and go.
What are all these talks about that the only solution not only
for Syria; Iraq and Lebanon: partition? We hear much, you know,
this is what you talk about, secular and sectarian.
But there is a lot of talk
everywhere, you know that better than us, about Syria with the
coast, and Iraq too, and Lebanon. What is you feeling about
The impression that they try to give in the Western media is
that the problem in this region is a civil war between different
components, religions, and ethnicities that don't want to live
with each other.
So, why don't they divide their
country? This is where they can stay.
Actually, the problem is
not like this, because now, under the government's control in
Syria, you can see that all these components live with each
other a normal life, a natural life.
So, if you want to make division,
you have to create clear lines between the components, whether
between sects, or between ethnicities. In that case, if you're
going to have that situation, if the region reaches that
situation, I will tell you that the situation is going to be
small states fighting with each other, never-ending wars for
Any situation like this means
constant wars. For the rest of the world it means more sources
of exporting instability and terrorism around the world. That's
the situation. So, this is a very dangerous way of thinking.
We don't have the incubator now, the
social incubator for such partition.
Actually, if you ask any Syrian now,
whether they are with the government or against the government,
they will tell you that we are supporting the unity of Syria.
You spoke about the constitution. In several months, you will
have elections inside Syria. Are you ready to have international
observers for these elections?
Yes, but we said international observation doesn't mean
organizations that have no credibility, to be frank, because
they are under the control of the Americans and the West in
So, when you talk about
international observation or participation or cooperation, it
means certain countries around the world that were not biased
during the crisis, that didn't support the terrorists, didn't
try to politicize their position toward what's happening in
Those are the countries that can
participate in such coordination or observation, but we don't
have a problem with the principle.
We talked about Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but we didn't talk about
Turkey, and they let go in Europe hundreds of thousands of
refugees, and it seems that they let go in Syria jihadists.
So, what is the role of Turkey?
The most dangerous role, in the whole situation, because Turkey
offered all kinds of support to those terrorists, and all the
spectrums of the terrorists.
Some countries support al-Nusra
Front, which is Al Qaeda, some other countries support ISIS,
while Turkey supports both, and other groups at the same time.
They support them with, how to say, human resources, they
They support them with money,
logistics, armaments, surveillance, information, and even the
maneuvers of their military through their borders during the
fights in Syria.
Even the money that's being
collected from the rest of the world passes through Turkey, and
oil that ISIS sells is through Turkey, so Turkey is playing
the worst part of our crisis.
Second, that's related directly to
Erdogan himself and Davutoglu, because they both reflect the
real ideology that they carry in their hearts, which is the
Muslim Brotherhood ideology.
You think he is Muslim Brotherhood?
Not necessarily to be organized, but the mentality, a hundred
He cares a lot about politicized
Islam which is the opportunistic part of Islam which is not
Islam actually. That's how we look at it, because you shouldn't
politicize religion. So, it's related directly to him, to his
will to see the Muslim Brotherhood governing in the rest of the
Arab world so that he can control them as a sultan, but actually
more as an imam, not a sultan.
That is what Turkey is playing.
we are in a situation right now, yesterday night and
before, Charlie Hebdo, and before and before. You said that, but
I want your confirmation; you think that France cannot fight
terrorism if it stays with its links with Qatar and Saudi
Yes. In addition, you cannot fight if you don't have relations
with the power that's fighting ISIS or terrorism on the ground.
You cannot fight terrorism while you
follow or pursue the wrong politics that, at the end, in the end
result, support terrorism directly or indirectly. If you don't
have all these things, no, you cannot, and we don't think that
they can, so far.
Thank you very much, Mr. President, for this interview.