ANKARA: Turkish Minister Says Diplomatic Solution Needed To Iranian

TURKISH MINISTER SAYS DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION NEEDED TO IRANIAN NUCLEAR ISSUE

Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English
18 Sep 06

New York, 18 September: "Turkey does not want to see nuclear weapons
in the Middle East. We want Iran’s nuclear programme to be resolved
through diplomacy," said Abdullah Gul, Turkish Foreign Minister and
Deputy Premier, on Monday [18 September].

Gul began to hold talks in New York today. The American-Turkish
Society hosted a breakfast in honour of Gul on Monday.

Asked about Turkey’s relations with Israel and Palestine, Gul answered
that Turkey has "excellent" relations with both countries.

Gul pointed out that the Palestinian problem can be resolved in a
two-state formula.

"Turkey cares about the security of both Palestine and Israel. Once
the Palestinian problem is resolved, Israel’s security will also be
established," noted Gul.

In reference to a question on legal cases against Turkish authors
who make comments on Armenian issues, Gul stated that the Turkish
government has changed many taboos. "All kinds of discussions take
place in Turkey on the Armenian issue. Many conferences are held
representing different opinions and thoughts," underlined Gul.

"Turkish Penal Code 301 creates certain problems. But the legal
process on this code is not over yet. We support the expression of
all ideas as long as they do not support violence," said Gul.

Minister Gul stressed that the entry negotiations with the European
Union will take a long time. "Turkey will be very different at the
end of negotiations.

Perhaps, at the end of negotiations the Turkish public will not want
to join the EU," remarked Gul.

In regard to Cyprus, Gul stated that the EU made a decision on April
26th, 2004 to end the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

"However, EU member Greek Cypriots have been blocking the
implementation of this decision," noted Gul. "Turkish Cypriots have
been penalized despite voting for the Annan Plan in the island,"
expressed Gul.

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