Erdoğan denies having secret Mideast agenda
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
We do not discriminate any ethnic root, religion or sect, and we are not making our politics based on these, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tells to Parliamentarians. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey had no secret agenda in the Middle East and did not intend to meddle in anyone’s domestic affairs. He also said, however, that no country had “the luxury to stay indifferent” to unrest in another.
“We are neither against nor behind any sect. Those who perceive our well-meaning advice as interference should first engage in their own self-criticism,” Erdoğan told lawmakers in a speech at Parliament yesterday.
Although Erdoğan did not give names, his words targeted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has frequently criticized Ankara for intervening in Iraq’s internal affairs after a crisis erupted between Shiite and Sunni political groups. “Sunni, Shiite, Nusayri, Alawite, Arab, Kurd, Orthodox, Catholic. We do not discriminate any ethnic root, religion or sect, and we are not making our politics based on these artificial elements,” Erdoğan said in response to claims Turkey was seeking to change the regime in unrest-laden Syria for the advantage of the Sunni majority. Turkey is not interested in cheap politics, Erdoğan said, and the country was instead searching for peace and stability through dialogue in the most restive environment for decades.
“No problem remains local in this region,” he said, recalling that Turkey’s security has been seriously affected due to instability in the northern part of Iraq where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) found shelter due to lack of autonomy. “Can one argue that the terror organization that is located in northern Iraq could be counted as an internal problem of Iraq? Can one call the ongoing tension between Sunni and Shiite groups, which has the potential of triggering a sectarian clash in the entire region, simply the internal affairs of Iraq?” he asked. Erdoğan’s words were indirect responses to United States Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone, who said last week, “Their internal affairs are their internal affairs. We certainly respect them. We can’t direct what they do.”
CHP slams foreign policy
Erdoğan said, “As Turkey, our efforts are for resolving the problems of this region with the efforts of all [actors] of the region. We are not, we cannot be, part of any of ongoing political disputes,” he said. In the meantime, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), claimed Turkey has lost its flexibility in foreign policy and accused the government of being part of sectarian conflict in the Middle East.