Following the example set by the Arab League and the U.S., Turkey on Wednesday slapped a series of economic and financial sanctions on Syria over the government's continued bloody crackdown on an eight-month uprising.
The Syrian regime was at an impasse and prefers to repress its people rather than engage in democratic reforms, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said as he announced the suspension of ties with the nation's central bank and the banning of all military sales.
The move piles sanctions on top of those already imposed by the Arab League, the U.S. and the European Union. A longstanding alliance aside, Syria's continued violence on its citizens, and its refusal to heed international calls to end it, has left Turkey with little choice but to suspend relations with its neighbor.
Every bullet fired, every bombed mosque has eliminated the legitimacy of the Syrian leadership and has widened the gap between us, Davutoglu said in a news conference in Ankara.
Syria has squandered the last change that it was given.
Ankara's measures, agreed to on Sunday after a meeting with Arab foreign ministers, are designed to cripple President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The United Nations says at least 3,500 people have been killed in the crackdown.
Syria must immediately cease using force on the people and the forces must immediately withdraw from the cities, Davutoglu said.
Last year, Turkey and Syria did $2.4 billion in trading business, according to the Turkish embassy in Damascus.
The new measures will hit an already weak Syrian economy. The set of nine sanctions announced by the Turkish foreign minister also include freezing the assets of certain officials who are members of the main cadre of leaders, who are the subject of claims of exerting violence against the people or of resorting to illegitimate means.
Ankara has said any sanctions would not hurt the Syrian people and has ruled out cutting off electricity and water supplies, Reuters reported.
In addition to the suspension of joint economic relations, Turkey is also halting all political cooperation until a legitimate leadership that is in peace with its people comes to power in Syria.
Further measures will include the pausing of transferring arms and military equipment to the Syrian army and hindering the transporting of military equipment to Syria by Turkish water, land or air.
In a post on Twitter, the city-state's official media office said the United Arab Emirates' two main carriers, Emirates and Etihad Airways, would stop flying to Syria next week, Fox News reported. The post was later deleted as the official at the media office was not permitted to discuss the matter.
At this difficult time, Turkey will continue to stand by the Syrian people resolutely because we strongly believe that we share a common future with the Syrian people and will build it together, Davutoglu said.