Gul voices "complete surprise" at Talabani's claims of no Turkish support
President Abdullah Gul late Sunday expressed surprise over remarks by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani claiming that Ankara didn't support him in the recent Iraqi elections. Speaking to reporters while returning from the weekend NATO summit in Lisbon, Gul said he "was completely surprised by Talabani's comments. On the contrary, we were the most sincere entity in the Iraqi elections process." "I was the first person to call and congratulate him after he was reelected," Gul added. "We haven't said a single negative word about Iraq. On the contrary, we have prioritized its sovereignty from the start. We supported the democratic process." Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also argued that Turkey "cleared the path" for the election process by establishing the "difficult balances" needed to select a Parliament head, a requirement for the elections. Asked about the NATO summit, Gul called it a success in every respect. "Everyone congratulated us on our economic growth and success," he said. On his brief meeting with US President Barack Obama, Gul said Obama thanked Turkey for its efforts in Iraq and that they talked about the delay in the new US ambassador's posting to Turkey and sales of unmanned air vehicles. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also denied allegations that Turkey supported some political parties during efforts to form the Iraqi government. "Turkey hasn't provided support to any party," Erdogan told reporters. "All parties worked in line with their political influence and ability. But some consultations were made after the elections." Pointing out that all political groups except for Talabani's came to Turkey for consultations during this period, Erdogan said all Turkey did was express its views regarding the situation in Iraq.