Turkish President Gül, Obama discuss Syria over lunch
NEW YORK – Hürriyet/Anadolu Agency
Turkish President Abdullah Gül speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in New York on Sept. 26. AA photoTurkish President Abdullah Gül said he discussed the ongoing Syria conflict in depth with the United States President Barack Obama while having lunch in New York, according to daily Hürriyet.
Gül told reporters afterwards that Obama was at the same lunch table as he was, which gave the two the opportunity to discuss the Syria issue in what became almost a “one-on-one meeting” between the world leaders.
“We had a good chance to talk over lunch. It was almost like a one-on-one meeting, I had a chance to convey my thoughts on Syria [to him],” Gül said.
The president added that he explained to Obama that anyone could become radical if their loved ones were killed “by their side.”
“I told him to think that over and not to overlook that. I explained to him the direct effect it has on us. ‘[The U.S.] is far away but [Turkey] is right there,’ I told him,” Gül said.
Gül added that there was currently “little reason for optimism” in Syria, while expressing the need for a well-prepared, second Geneva conference.
“I told Obama that they should prepare well for Geneva. Everything needs to be well done and without loopholes. Otherwise, there is no point in meeting again,” Gül said.
Perceptions on the Middle East should adapt to the new reality
The Middle East is experiencing a “geopolitical transformation,” and perceptions about the region have to be adapted to the new reality on the ground, Gül said during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in New York on Sept. 26.
Gül said the region was facing a major challenge as the dominant status quo was experiencing a crisis that questioned its values.
“For that reason we should review our assumption and traditional analysis models,” Gül said, adding that the Palestinian conflict was not the only parameter in the region.
“We can’t continue as if regional balances and hostilities are among separate nations. There has been a new series of dynamics, particularly after the war in Iraq in 2003,” Gül said, adding that these dynamics had caused a geopolitical transformation in the region.
The president also reiterated his message at the United Nations regarding Syria, calling on nations to act against the fighting. “Letting the war continue will create a major threat for Syria and the whole region,” he said.
Speaking on the latest developments in Egypt, Gül reiterated his call for the release of toppled Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, held incommunicado since the military takeover on July 3.
“All political prisoners should be released, including Morsi, for the normalization of the situation in Egypt,” Gül said.