September 23rd, 2013
05:12 PM ET

Gul: Turkey very active on Syria issue

Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul about the situation in Syria.

Are you disappointed that President Obama has chosen not to take some kind of military action in Syria? Your government has been urging military action for a long time.

No, it's not the military action. In fact, of course, the military action is the last resort. But what we insisted is that there should be a comprehensive political strategy first. This is missing from the very beginning

But a lot of people look at Turkey's policy, which has been support for the rebels, very tough against Assad, urging that he leave, and say that you have not been able to help create a real political opposition, unify the rebels, find the moderates. That while for two years this has been the effort, there isn't that much to show for it.

Yes, well, I think I have to remind first that at the beginning, we worked hard to find out a peaceful solution for this. At least six months, we worked very hard. We visited several times. But unfortunately, there was no response. There was no real response at the time.

It's not the problem of Turkey, first of all, but we are the neighbor. So what’s happening in Syria is having consequences – immediate consequences – on Turkey. Therefore, Turkey is very active in this issue. And this should not be misunderstood that Turkey wishes war or Turkey wishes the attack on Syria. That is not correct.  What we want to see is that this situation should not continue like this. If this continues like it, everything is going to go bad there.

But you want al-Assad gone? You think that...

We want a very sound, very calculated political solution for them.

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Topics: Syria • Turkey

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Erdogan has changed his tone. A year ago he was urging Assad to step down. Unfortunately the Syrian dictator has proven himself more resilient than anticipated. Many had hoped for his demise.
    Erdogan is facing opposition at home for his supporting the Syrian rebels, who are divided and haven't been able to consolidate power, while regime forces have regained strength after having recaptured Qusayr in June with the help of the Hezbollah fighters.

    September 24, 2013 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • AAK

      It is Gul who is the president, not Erdogan. Either way Turkey is not going to shoulder all the burden by herself. By not doing anything the West is creating another Afghanistan close to home. Assad is on the machine, plug is going to be pulled sooner or later. Syrian people know very well who their friends are and who their enemies are by looking at the reactions of the audience to thd slaughter.

      September 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        I know that Gul is Turkey's president, but it's Erdogan, the premier, who has the political power!!!

        September 30, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  2. hurrya1

    As the Arab and Turkish proverb say: "The one who digs a hole for his brother will fall in it". The Syrian revolution started peacefully just like the other Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Turkey, with Qatar and Saudi assistance injected the Islamist violent element in it and turned it into a bloody civil war between Al Qaeda and the regime. Turkey is the main route for the Islamist and Al Qaeda foreign fighters joining ISIS and Al Nusra front in Northern Syria. The Al Qaeda franchises in Syria get most of their weapons through Turkey so Turkey is their main sponsor. As the Afghan war has shown Al Qaeda has a history of turning against the countries that give it support.

    September 24, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
  3. Joseph McCarthy

    Before the Turks take any action against Syria, they need to consider the plight of their own Kurdish population who are aspiring to achieve their well deserved independence from them. They also need to realize that the only way the Syrians can hope for any kind of normalcy in their country is for Bashar al-Assad to stay in power and let the so-called "rebels" fail to set up another U.S. backed pseudo-democracy there. As usual, the Turks are totally wrong on all counts!

    September 24, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
  4. AAK

    Normalcy? Are you out of your mind? Why do you want us to believe that living under the butcher who slaughtered 100,000 souls in 2 years should be normalcy? You try doing that, if you like that normalcy, you let us know.

    September 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Is Bashar al-Assad truly a butcher AAK, or is this just more Western propaganda as usual? With the right-wing, pro-Western news media lying to us most of the time, it's quite difficult to tell these days. At any rate, the so-called "rebels" will probably be even worse. Besides, the Turks are now butchering the Kurds who only want their well deserved independence and that makes Erdogan a butcher as well.

      September 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Reply
      • Ferhat Balkan

        Yes, Assad is a butcher. Just like Stalin, Hitler and Putin. They're were quite good at covering it all up, but in time all truths come out Joseph. History has taught us that. Believe me Joseph, if the Turks were butchering the Kurds right now, the whole world would know it. You don't see a population decline of Kurds in Turkey as you see populations decline in places like Syria, Chechnya or WW2 Germany. We Turks have nothing to hide. The facts speak for themselves. History and the now has shown that population of Kurds in Turkey has seen an explosion contrary to your leftist propaganda. Also, Kurds who do not like to live in Turkey are welcome to leave and go to Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). No one is stopping them.

        September 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  5. AAK

    On the contrary, Erdogan freed the Kurds. Under his rule Kurds have gotten their fair share of prosperity and freedom. Erdogan is going to make further reforms aimed at improving democratic rights of Turkey's Kurds public this week. On the other hand Erdogan's closest allies in the region are the Kurds of former Iraq/Kurdistan.

    September 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  6. Mehmet

    AAK and Ferhat both of you are ideology is no different from Bashars, if you think an Al Quade Backed peace in Syria is going to end as Peace. and also there are no peace plans for Kurds in turkey and why should the Kurds who Has 5000 years of history should leave their land? if leaving is an option that option is also open for Syrian who does not like Bashar. and your so called Rebels are chopping peoples head off and posting the beheadings on the net, so please tell me who the real butcher are, (watch so called al Nusra's beheading of villager on the net) GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT. Joseph McCarthy if everyone was as informed as you were the world wouldn't have this many issues. AAK and Ferhat's are the problem of this world speaking out of terms.

    November 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Reply

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