President Gül says he is shocked by Talabani’s election statement

ABDÜLHAM?T B?L?C?
Lisbon


President Abdullah Gül

President Abdullah Gül has said Turkish state officials were shocked by a recent statement from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani claiming that Ankara attempted to stop him from being re-elected as president of Iraq.
Gül said Turkey is the biggest supporter of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “I called Talabani on the first day of Eid al-Adha [Feast of the Sacrifice] to wish him a happy Eid and congratulate him on his re-election. Who is to be elected is the business of Iraqis alone,” he said, speaking to journalists aboard an airplane on his way back from a NATO summit in Lisbon.
Gül also shared information about his meeting with US President Barack Obama this past weekend, saying he told Obama that Turkey is supportive of his policies and would like to see him stay strong in Washington. Gül said Obama greatly valued Turkey and was ready to do his best to support Turkey.
Gül said Turkey and US relations had entered a very good era of cooperation, adding that the two leaders also talked about the procurement of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) that has still not been passed in Congress and the delay in the new US ambassador to Turkey beginning his new assignment.
He also said Obama had thanked Turkey for its efforts that contributed to the formation of a new government in Iraq and that the US understood very well Turkey’s intentions about Iran. Gül also said they were happy about support shown toward Turkey by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
US built prison, Turkey cold storage depot
Dwelling on Afghanistan, which was one of the crucial issues of the NATO summit, Gül said it is more important to win the hearts of the people of Afghanistan than to win in close combat and he explained the efforts of the Turkish state and civil society concerning Afghanistan at the summit. Citing a women’s high school which was established by Turkish civil society organizations in Afghanistan, Gül gave a striking example of the difference in the approach of the West and Turkey to this country.
The United States and Turkey are both engaged in Wardak province. The first thing the US did here was to construct a prison while the first thing Turkey did was to have a cold storage depot put together that enabled the keeping of fruits grown in the region. Gül said Turkey trains 13,000 Afghan soldiers, opens schools and provides medical services, adding that the best way to ensure security in the country is to eliminate training and equipment shortcomings faced by the Afghan military. He said he was saddened by the fact that there are many problems in this regard.


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