Davutoglu: "Turkey is ready to support revived proximity talks between Syria and Israel"
Turkey would support revived proximity talks between Israel and Syria, and allegations that Turkey's allies have "lost" it are baseless, according to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Speaking to Gorus magazine, published by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), Davutoglu said that Israel seems to be constantly causing political problems in the region, but that if it restarts proximity talks with Syria and peace talks with the Palestinians, Turkey will support this. Defending Turkey's push for justice following Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, Davutoglu stated that Turkey would have would have spoken and acted the same way if some other country had attacked. He added that the issue is also political and related to the peace process in the Middle East. "That's why we mediated the Israeli-Syrian proximity talks, why we interceded during the Gaza assault, and why we tried to push for a ceasefire; we are present in Lebanon and Iraq with our own policy," he said. Dismissing claims that Turkey has shifted its orientation and is slowly drifting away from its allies, he said international stakes are dynamic and ever-shifting and that Turkey can't be told what positions to take. Davutoglu added that Turkey's historic experience and ability to intercede when needed make it meaningful and have also spurred the orientation shift claims, which he branded "psychological pressure." Davutoglu also warned that Turkish-European Union relations could stall indefinitely if there is no progress on the Cyprus issue but dismissed the idea that Turkey might drift away from Europe. Asked if deteriorating relations with Israel will also make Turkey's relations with the US worse, Davutoglu said the US has good relations with both countries. "But our difference from Israel is that we are a NATO member," he added. "Citizens of a NATO member were killed (in the raid). Here we want solidarity with our allies." Expressing his gratitude for US assistance in helping to extradite Turkish citizens who were detained by Israel, Davutoglu said he also wants stronger support and solidarity in defining the crime as well as sanctions. Davutoglu rebuffed claims that Turkey is ignoring Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions. He said they have worked to keep the doors of diplomacy open and that Turkey is opposed to any country in the region possessing nuclear weapons.