27 April 2012
Turkey is set to carve itself a primary role in shaping the Middle East as it guides the “winds of change” in the region, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutođlu said yesterday.
“A new Middle East is about to be born. We will be the owner, pioneer and the servant of this new Middle East,” Davutođlu told Parliament after attracting criticism from opposition parties over Ankara’s Syria policy.
Davutođlu criticized the opposition parties that have rejected Ankara’s stance on Syria, saying it was not possible to understand those who embraced “autocratic regimes” instead of the people of the Middle East.
“Dealing with Syria is not a matter of choice, but an obligation,” the minister said, adding that Turkey would be involved in every step of the process to help the Arab republic attain peace.
The minister said the government had advised the Syrian administration to make reforms even before the “Arab awakening” had started. But when they saw how Damascus turned the country into an “open prison” for its people, Turkey sided with the latter, he added.
Replying to criticism that the government had interfered in Syria too much at the expense of neglecting domestic issues, Davutođlu said critics had misinterpreted the Zeitgeist and wrongly perceived what was happening in Syria.
“The era of policies [such as] ‘wait and see’ and following behind big powers has ended,” the minister said, adding that Turkey would not become involved in any policy that did not originate from Ankara.
The minister rebuked the opposition for failing to understand the government’s foreign policy.
“Turkey is no longer a country which does not have self-confidence and is waiting for foreign approval [in its policies],” Davutođlu said.
Turkey now has “puissance,” Davutođlu said. “Even your dreams can’t and won’t reach the place where our power has come to.”