Leader of Turkey's winning party slams ''terrorism of Sharon''
The leader of Turkey's winning party refused Wednesday to commit to allowing U.S. warplanes to use Turkish bases in any war with Iraq and declined to say whether his country's close military ties with Israel will be maintained.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party said Turks consider Israeli policies toward Palestinians to be "terrorism," but added that Turkey would not link its close economic ties with Israel to popular anger.
"The whole Turkish population is very critical of what is going on in Palestine," Erdogan said. "Our public does not view this as anything anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic. They see it as the terrorism of Sharon." "Turkey has to play a more active role," he added.
Erdogan said it was too early to specify what actions Turkey might take, but he did not rule out scaling back military ties. "It would not be correct to talk about these before accepting the official duties of government," he said.
When asked if the new government would agree to a request to use Turkish bases, Erdogan said: "I don't find it appropriate to talk about indefinite results." "We don't know what the outcome will be from the United Nations. The United States has not clarified its position yet," he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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