Such high-level defections have been rare so far. But if they become more frequent, they could cause Assad's regime to crumble from within.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan warned Friday that the US and Europe were not doing enough to resolve the core causes of the global economic slowdown.
The embassy closure by such a key regional player is likely to increase pressure on the Syrian government. Turkey also pledged, along with the US, to increase 'non-lethal aid' to Syrian rebels.
The cries of sellers hawking their wares in the markets of Istanbul are threatened by a new law banning vendors from shouting their sales pitch.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's North Africa tour comes at a critical time for Israel, whose diplomats were forced to flee Cairo this weekend after protesters attacked the Israeli embassy.
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador today in protest over a UN report that justified Israel's blockade of Gaza, though not the fatal raid on a mainly Turkish flotilla that sought to run it.
Another Gaza flotilla will set sail next month with the Mavi Marmara flagship, which Israeli navy commandos raided last year, killing nine activists in violent clashes.
French President Sarkozy has been at odds with most European leaders on the question of what leadership role NATO should have in Libya.
After a few days of Western airstrikes on Libya, initial international support is beginning to fall apart as disputes arise about what levels of military action are authorized by Thursday's UN resolution.