Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has expressed concerns about failure of some countries and international organizations to take action in the face of recent developments in Palestine's Gaza.
Speaking at a program at the state-run TV channel TRT-1 on Turkey's foreign policy, Babacan described what happened in Gaza in the last one week as a "humanity tragedy".
"Breaking of Israeli-Hamas truce, end of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' term in office on January 9 and upcoming elections in Israel have led to today's developments. As Turkey, we reacted strongly since we do not believe that use of arms will serve solution of any problems. We think that the basic instruments to find solution to problems in the Middle East are political dialogue and diplomacy," he said.
"We regret that Israel launched air strikes against Gaza only five days after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Turkey during which Syria-Israel indirect talks were high on agenda. In the light of the recent developments, we have already announced that we suspended efforts to broker peace talks between Israel and Syria since re-emergence of an appropriate ground and atmosphere for the talks," he said.
Babacan said, "I believe that the most wrongful thing is to pursue a 'wait and see policy' for Gaza. Unfortunately, some countries and international organizations have already been pursuing such a policy. This is quite distressing."
"We think a comprehensive and a sustainable truce should be signed in the region. And, one of the most important elements of the agreement should be Israel's easing the blockade of Gaza in a controlled way. We also attach great importance to ensure compromise among Palestinians, and to resume Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese talks. These processes could be held in parallel. We need to create a concept of security and cooperation in whole Middle East eventually," he said.
Iran's nuclear programme
Babacan said Turkey held seats in the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Agency's Board of Governors, noting that Iran's nuclear programme would come before Turkey in these two platforms.
Babacan said they told western countries that foreign pressure on Iran hindered the inner political dynamics of Iran, drawing Iranians closer and pushing them to take a common position.
EU and Cyprus
Referring to Turkey-the EU relations, Babacan said, "there are some difficulties in our relations with the EU. However, a weakening is out of question. Turkey has a multi-dimensional foreign policy, and our relations with the EU are on the track."
Recalling that a new negotiation process has been under way in Cyprus, Babacan said, "the 12th round of the talks was held just before the new year. We think that a timetable should be set as soon as possible."