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POLITICS > Gül criticizes leaders in Europe of ‘petty politics’

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President Gül blames European leaders for leaning to far-right policies by engaging ‘petty politics.’ Gül also says it was risky but right decision to visit Armenian capital

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Turkish President Abdullah Gül (L) welcomed by 
former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. AA photo

Turkish President Abdullah Gül (L) welcomed by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. AA photo

European leaders are guilty of engaging in “petty politics” by leaning toward the far right instead of finding new ways to fight the economic crisis, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said May 23 at Stanford University.

“A leader should not always seek the easy and well-worn path ahead. He or she should be ready to go a new direction and leave a trail behind,” said Gül in the conference, adding that the current situation in Europe is “a telling example of how the lack of visionary leadership could adversely affect the lives of millions.” “In recent months, we have witnessed in one after another election far-right parties gaining strength. And, even worse, their ideologies and views are more and more becoming part of the mainstream,” Gül was quoted as saying by the Presidency’s website, adding that this was an example of “petty-politics at its worst.”

Gül said the steps which brought European states closer to far-right politics were an example of the failure of leadership. “First, Europe’s leaders failed to see the looming economic problems,” he said. “Consequently, the limitations of the European leaders in taking necessary decisions brought about the financial calamities they currently face. And now, there are growing tendencies across Europe to become more [inward-looking] and to give in to the rise of extremist political groups.” Gül was welcomed by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before addressing students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Speaking about the changes in Arab countries during his speech, Gül said leaders in the Middle East had long been out of touch with their people. The president said dictators in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria long thought they could stay in power as long as their armies and intelligence services were strong.

‘I was right to visit Yerevan’

Speaking of his historic visit to the Armenian capital of Yerevan in 2008, Gül said it was “a risky move” for domestic political considerations and for foreign policy implications. “I went to Yerevan, marking the first-ever visit of a Turkish president to Armenia. The reward I was expecting from this gesture was a mending of fences between our two nations. I still pursue this hope. … Risky as it was, I did the right thing by visiting Yerevan,” Gül said.

Asked by Rice about Egypt’s election, Gül said Turkey was a Muslim country and was continuing its reforms on the way to the EU membership. “You will see that more Muslim states have democracy in the near future.” Gül also said Turkey’s currently poor relations with Israel were a result of Tel Aviv’s choices. Relations deteriorated after nine Turks were killed in an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which aimed to break the Gaza blockade in May 2010. Gül reiterated that Turkey’s demand for an apology from Israel had remained unanswered. On a lighter note, the president also shared a memory of his childhood, saying he failed to sell soft drinks at his grandfather’s shop because he was too shy to shout “Ice-cold soda!” “That was the end of my business career! If that very failure would not have happened that day, most probably I would not be the president of the Turkish Republic today,” he said. Gül met with Apple executives later on May 23.

May/25/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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mara mcglothin

5/25/2012 3:39:37 PM

YOu cannot criticize others without acknowledging their critique of you PRESIDENT GUL. By definition these days politicians the world over are "petty" and only pandering for their own interests, just like you. Backward mentality, not matter how diplomatic the speech is alive and well. You cannot talk about how modern you are when we have all read your personal bio.

Dawood Isa

5/25/2012 1:30:08 PM

We call them self esteem, President word is much better to listen so encourages the changes with the neighbors country, if they willing to listen.... it free to speak isn't it?

Rimon Tree

5/25/2012 11:03:52 AM

Esteemed AKP "politicians"! When will you eventually stop making fools of yourselves? When will you stop to instruct others about things you either do not understand or did not solve for your own country so far! The only "trail" you will leave behind going "a new direction" (which was the old one?) is a slime trail like snails do! It hurts to see how badly educated you are on humanity and political wisdom! Maybe you should regain some of your childhood "shyness".....

JRC JRC

5/25/2012 10:07:16 AM

And once again a senior Turkish official criticises those who are supposed to be allies and friends, and offers advice from a children's fairytale story.

Ryan James

5/25/2012 9:44:01 AM

Another one...
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