Speaking at a press conference, President Abdullah Gül explained that in every bipartite meeting he held during the NATO Summit, he brought up the issue of Syria. Everyone was commending Turkey on its role in the Syria issue, and I said, 'one minute' this is not just a Turkey-Syria issue; this is an issue between Syria and the entire international community. That is why there are observers from the U.N. Security Council there. However, this isn't going to work. All of you need to clearly show what you are committing to and you need to stand strong. This is what we discussed. Also, the Annan plan must not become a deceiving effort to buy time. We need to ensure that every measure is followed precisely. This is the issue we emphasized the most. Therefore, this isn't something that can happen with 300 people or so, we may need thousands to go. Otherwise things will be different.
REPROACHING THE U.S. REGARDING PREDATORS
President Gül also explained that during his meeting with Obama, he reproached the issue of delayed Predators and stated, "I told them, 'If these are dangerous weapons, then the F-35 and F-16 is even more dangerous. In other words, Turkey is partners in the production of F-35s and we purchase them. This needs to be explained to members of Congress.' There is no need to act envious of a country that is such an important ally. As you know, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their assistants are working as hard as they can to make this happen. In fact, the administration's attitude is positive; they are just trying to convince Congress."
'THE AK PARTY IS RAISING DEMOCRATIC STANDARDS'
President Abdullah Gül also replied to questions posed by the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Asked why the Orthodox Seminary has not yet been reopened, Gül responded by stating "The issue of the seminary has to do with the constitution and the principle of secularism. Let me start by saying that we respect everyone's faith and belief and we also believe that everyone should be free to exercise and practice their beliefs," Gül said. "This is something we believe in, frankly and truly, the government believes in this. But there are some issues, problems, that need to be resolved and we're taking some steps to resolve them. We have to treat all religions equally. People of all faiths should be free to learn their faith and teach it, and I'm sure that with this work that is ongoing with the drawing up of the constitution, this is something that can be resolved," Gül said
Gül went on to mention that secularists tend to be concerned that Islam will eventually become a dominant factor in Turkey's politics, while Turkey has become a source of inspiration for Arab Spring nations, and states; "When people write about Turkey they mention the Islamic government in Turkey, whereas the Justice and Development Party, the AKP, has never identified itself as a religious party," said the Turkish president, who helped found the party. "The fact that this party, which is a conservative party, has focused on democracy, has raised democratic standards, has tried to integrate Turkey with the rest of the world, and has engaged in deep-rooted reform in Turkey, these are all sources of inspiration for these countries.
When we were in the opposition, there were some who would describe us as radical and say that if we ever came into government we would take Turkey away from the West," Gül said. "But I think these emerging countries get responsibility, they will act rationally."
'THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ATTACK ON IRAN'
President Gül also expressed that Iran's nuclear issue is being settled thanks to Turkey. "I see that there are many who commend us on our contribution to the nuclear negotiations to be held in Baghdad tomorrow. What appeared the be the biggest issue, namely Iran's nuclear program, was settled in Istanbul, through Turkey's insistence and now a step further may be taken in the situation. However, to be honest nobody is considering attacking Iran."
'WHEN IT COMES TO ISRAEL WE WILL CUT PROPLE OFF'
Gül also mentioned that the issue of Israel came up during his meeting with Obama and stated, "The issue of Turkey's relations with Israel came up a few times. Our relations with Israel are quite clear. If anyone were to say to us, 'oh please rectify your relations with Israel', I would literally cut them off even if it were President Obama. We would tell them to go talk to Israel, to tell them to fix relations with us. There are things they need to do to fix relations and as long as they refrain from doing so, relations will not be mended."
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