President Gul: "Disarmament of Israel is solution to nuclear Iran"
President Abdullah Gul has called for a comprehensive solution to an international dispute over Iran's nuclear program and said Turkey does not want to see any neighbouring country possess nuclear weapons. "Turkey will not accept a neighbouring country possessing weapons not possessed by Turkey herself," Gul said in an interview published in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. Despite the Syria row, however, Gul insisted that any solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear program should involve the eradication of all nuclear weapons from the region and be based on a realistic approach that should take into account how Iran perceives the external threat. Israel's security must also be guaranteed. "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," Gul said in the interview, which took place in October. Asked if this meant the key to stopping the Iranian nuclear program is Israeli disarmament, Gul said, "That is the way I see it, because that route will help us solve the fundamental problems in the Middle East that affect the whole world." Commenting on the Syrian crisis, Gul said Russia and Iran, two allies of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, should be involved in efforts to end the 21-month-old crisis. "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," he said, noting that Russia in particular "should be treated properly." Gul also said the international community's reaction to the Syrian crisis should go beyond rhetoric but opposed a Libya-style foreign intervention in the civil war-battered country. Turkey welcomes the fact that some of the Arab Spring countries look up to Ankara as an example as they strive to achieve being a Muslim, democratic and prosperous country, but it has no intention of being the "big brother" for anyone in the region, President Abdullah Gul has said. Commenting on Turkey's improving profile in the international arena Gul said Turkey's priority should be to achieve the highest standards on democracy, human rights and the well-being of its people.