As the Syrian government continues its brutal crackdown on protesters, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, is facing unprecedented pressure and criticism from abroad.

The US and the EU have already imposed sanctions and have threatened more. But the toughest talk in recent days has come from one of Syria's key allies: Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said al-Assad can not deny what he called, the indispensible quest for peace and democracy by Syrians.

And Erdogan has called on al-Assad to take immediate democratic steps, saying that the momentum toward democracy in the Middle East is irreversible.
But as the Syrian government continues its crackdown on protesters, will this new stance from Turkey have any influence? And is Ankara reviewing its policy with its neighbours?

Inside Story, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, discusses with Amrullah Ouslo, a professor of international relations at Yeditepe University in Istanbul; Ilnur Cevic, the editor-in-chief of The New Anatolian newspaper in Ankara; and Obeida Nahas, the director of The Levant Institute in London.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera