Had he not been completely serious, it would have been possible on Sunday to appreciate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his sense of humor.
Syria, which has been embroiled in a bloody civil war for more than two years, on Sunday advised its citizens not to travel to neighboring Turkey because of the violent anti-government protests in Istanbul and across the country.
Syria's Foreign Ministry said it was advising Syrians "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 [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's government against peaceful protesters."
Syria managed to use the travel warning as an opportunity to taunt Erdogan, who was a close ally of Assad's before the onset of the "Arab Spring" regional conflicts.
Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi said, "If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign."
The U.K. on Sunday also issued a travel warning to British citizens planning on visiting Turkey -- apparently for different reasons than the ones that motivated the Damascus regime.
In the meanwhile, the Syrian civil war and strained Turkish-Syrian relations have led to a prosperous few months at the Haifa port. Instead of transporting goods through Lebanon and Syria, Turkey has opted to send its products to Jordan through Haifa.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said that some 100 Turkish trucks were passing through the city every week. The Haifa municipality reported that Yahav reached out to the Finance Ministry to help solidify Haifa's role as Turkey's regional home port.
Yahav said he hoped that the development could "turn Haifa into the Middle Eastern port of entry it was until 1948, when goods from Iraq passed to and from it."