Turkey does not want war in Syria, says President Gül
Female members of the ‘Mother Aisha’ battalion, fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, sit along a street in Aleppo’s Salaheddine district. REUTERS photoTurkey has never aspired to a military resolution to end the devastating civil war in neighboring Syria, yet it certainly desires a clear end to the ongoing massacre in the shortest possible time, President Abdullah Gül has said.
“Turkey is a country that wishes for this matter to be solved without a war. It is a country that has exerted the greatest effort for this since the beginning,” Gül said Sept. 20 when asked by reporters whether Turkey had been in favor of conducting a military intervention in Syria.
“Wars are never wished for, but if you aren’t ready for a war, then you cannot prevent greater mistakes. That is how one should regard this issue. Turkey has no desire for war. Turkey just wishes for the continuing massacres in Syria to stop as soon as possible. It wants the international community to display a strong determination,” Gül added.
The president was speaking at a press conference held ahead of his departure for New York where he will represent Turkey at the 68th General Assembly meeting of the United Nations where Syria will likely be the top item on his agenda.
Pointing out that civil wars were the most merciless of wars, Gül said witnessing a friendly people suffer a devastating massacre and a friendly country consume itself was immensely painful and that Turkey was sparing no effort to end it as quickly as possible. Recalling that Turkey had at the time exerted enormous amounts of time and effort to find a diplomatic solution to the matter, Gül said the international community was not aware of the characteristics and gravity of the matter at that time.
Turkey has long been warning the international community over potential threats of terrorism which might stem from extremist movements in Syria, Gül said in a bid to reflect the country’s vigilance in the face of the ongoing battles for control of Azaz, a Syrian town only a few kilometers from the Turkish border, as the battles represented some of the worst rebel infighting in recent months.
“Turkey has been taking its necessary precautions extremely carefully concerning these issues. Turkey’s stance concerning terror is very solid. There should be no hesitation about this,” Gül said.
“We are a country which knows that a view making a distinction such as ‘my terrorist, your terrorist,’ is very dangerous, and which has always suffered from this [view],” he said, echoing Ankara’s constant unease over the international community’s approach toward terrorism, which it says is marked by a “double-standard.”
Turkey’s first priority was preventing the potential impacts of these extremist groups on the region as well as for its own sake, since they may turn into terrorist groups, he said.