POLITICS > We are not assuming a role in the Arab world: Turkish President

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency

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Turkish President Abdullah Gül. AA Photo

Turkish President Abdullah Gül. AA Photo

Turkey is not looking to take on any role in the Arab world, Turkish President Abdullah Gül recently said in an interview with Foreign Affairs magazine.

"All countries are equal and all nations have their dignity. No one can write a script and assign roles to other countries. You do not prioritize, and you do not patronize. Of course, we are happy with the fact that they take us as an example because we are a Muslim country, a democracy, and an economic success story," he told the magazine’s Jonathan Tepperman.

Gül, who also responded to questions on Israel, said the country was responsible for the weakening of Turkish-Israeli relations.

"The current situation between Turkey and Israel is the outcome of the Israelis’ own preferences and the mistakes they have made. The entire world knows this. Even the allies of Israel, who cannot express it directly to the Israelis, clearly say this to us," Gül said.

The Turkish president also commented on the ongoing Syria crisis. "Of course, with Turkey being a neighboring country and sharing a land border with Syria of 900 kilometers, the repercussions for Turkey are different. For instance, we have 150,000 Syrians who have come to Turkey as a result of the problems in Syria. This has led to some security issues and border clashes or clashes on the border between the regime forces and the opposition, which also affect us," he said.

"From the very onset of the crisis, we have always opted for a controlled and orderly change in Syria. As a result of the escalation of events, we made it clear to everyone that Turkey, in unity with the free world, will support the Syrian people in their demands. But from the very beginning, I have argued that both Russia and Iran should be invited to engage with the transition in Syria to prevent further bloodshed. I believe that Russia in particular should be treated properly," the president said.

Asked why Turkey did not seem as concerned about the Iranian nuclear program as are other countries in the region and countries in the West, the president said Turkey did not want to see any neighboring country possess nuclear weapons.

"Turkey will not accept a neighboring country possessing weapons not possessed by Turkey herself. We are not underestimating this matter in any way. But we are more realistic, and what we need is a more comprehensive solution and approach to this problem. What matters here is to guarantee the security of Israel in the region, and once that is guaranteed, then the next step must be to eradicate all such weapons from the region. This can be done only through peace,” he said.

Gül also touched on other matters such as Turkey's democracy, its relations with NATO, the United States and European Union during the interview.


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mara mcglothin

1/4/2013 6:42:44 PM

AGNES I think that you are correct, BUT it doesn't really matter whether you presentation is eloquent or boorish, the message is the same! I do believe his days are numbered and maybe this will wake up the general population. I am waiting for the esteemed pm to charge him with the bugs in his office. Wouldn't that tie everything up in a neat package?

Agnes Smith

1/4/2013 12:06:57 AM

Well Mara that counts for a lot in my book - educated and knows how to speak. You have hit the nail on the head. Religious ethics apart this is what is required to run a country. Time will tell but I think his days are numbered. He is starting to pose a threat.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

1/3/2013 11:58:39 PM

The government keeps him out of the loop. I hope he challenges Erdogan in the presidential election.

mara mcglothin

1/3/2013 9:41:33 PM

Yeah JOE Read his personal bio and then talk about his nobility. There is very little difference in the two men other than this one was educated in the West and has a better idea of how to speak. Nothing else is different.

Blue Beyond

1/3/2013 9:37:31 PM

The Turkish President and the Turkish PM apparently do not see eye-to-eye. The only possible reason for PM Erdogan to have impaired relations with Israel would have been in order to gain credibility with the Arab world. Otherwise loosing Israel as an ally in favor of Egypt or Iran is...well...crazy.

ilker avni

1/3/2013 8:07:33 PM

President Gul is a honest man,i wish he was leading the country rather then Erdogan.Turkey should first put its own house in order ,they are no obstacles to changeing Turkey for the better,Demorcracy should be in practice, and not preached about,equal rights for all its citizens and not for the chosen, dignity and justice for all and that includes the Kurds.I am very proud that Turkey and its people have welcomed the Syrian refugee,s with open arms and stood firm for they rights.

joe Maddin

1/3/2013 4:51:18 PM

That's a great and noble man talking, not the megalomaniac and arrogant Erdogan.

mara mcglothin

1/3/2013 4:43:30 PM

What a bunch of jibberjabber. No one is buying it MR GUL.


1/3/2013 3:37:42 PM

Well, AKP certainly fooled me!
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