Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Chief of Staff, General Necdet Ozel, chat as they attend a ceremony at the Turkish Aerospace Industries in Ankara June 27, 2012.AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN
The world will see Turkey’s plan of action on Syria when the country puts it into practice, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel said recently during an interview with daily Akşam's İsmail Küçükkaya.
"It's not like we will start a war," Özel said. "But we are following everything very closely. We have every capability of doing so."
Turkey will do "whatever great states do,” Özel added.
Özel, however, refused to comment on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's claims of not being able to contact any Turkish military official due to political barriers. Özel dismissed the question, stating that he "would not go into political matters." Fight against terrorism set back by Uludere
When asked about the botched Uludere raid that killed 34 villagers in December 2011, Özel said the incident definitely hampered Turkey's fight against terrorism.
"Sadly these are all parts of military conduct," Özel said. "It happens to everyone, and everyone should consider the conditions. Would we ever want such a thing?" ‘I am a soldier, I do my job’
Özel's interview was often interrupted by his refusal to comment on questions he branded "political." Off-limit subjects included jailed generals and judicial reforms, and even at times spilled over into certain questions on the crisis with Syria, as well as the Uludere incident.
"I don't talk about political matters. It isn't right," Özel said.
"The military headquarters are closed to press. I am a soldier, I do my job. Reporters do theirs. Everyone should respect each other and each other's job,” he said.