ISTANBUL – TDN with wire dispatches
President Abdullah Gül predicted a new multipolar world would emerge from the wreckage of war, in an interview published in Britain on Saturday.
He asserted that the conflict in Georgia showed that the United States could no longer shape global politics on its own and should begin sharing power with other countries.
"I don't think you can control all the world from one center," Gül told British daily The Guardian, adding, "There are big nations. There are huge populations. There is unbelievable economic development in some parts of the world."
"So what we have to do is, instead of unilateral actions, act all together, make common decisions and have consultations with the world. A new world order, if I can say it, should emerge."
Gül added that Turkey could play a decisive role in bridging the chasm that separates the West from more turbulent regions and that its effort to join the European Union was its "main agenda."
"I wish to see Turkey as an island where the European standard of democracy is being fulfilled and the free market economy is functioning very well," he said, adding: "As we are transforming ourselves in that direction, we will not forget our natural links and relationships and advantages with other countries -- Muslim countries, Central Asian countries, Caucasus countries, Middle Eastern and other countries."
"Turkey is having a positive impact on them, spreading the values of democracy, freedom, rule of law. Also, the economic changes here ... are admired. Maybe that is the indirect influence of this country," he said.
Gül complained that some European leaders have failed to recognize the contribution Turkey was making to stability in the world's most volatile region.
"This is a big asset for Europe," he said. "Turkey has great capacity to influence the region, indirectly, very peacefully, being an inspiration for changes. Turkey has been playing this role already. This has not been appreciated enough."
He added that Europe should encourage Turkey, saying: �Some member countries should not mix domestic and strategic issues. Domestic issues are conjectural; today it's there and tomorrow it's not. But the strategic issues are always there, and we cannot sacrifice strategic issues for domestic issues. Unfortunately, nowadays we see this kind of shortsighted policies in some countries."
Turkey no enemy to Armenia
Meanwhile Gül sent a reconciliatory message to neighboring Armenia on the same day the interview was published saying Turkey is "no enemy" to any country in its region, as he mulled a possible landmark trip to Yerevan.
The conflict between Georgia and Russia shows the need for "early measures to resolve frozen problems in the region and ... prevent instability in the future," said Gül in televised remarks in the central city of Nevşehir, reported Agence France-Presse newswire.
"This is our understanding on all problems. We are no enemy to anyone in the region," he said, reiterating a Turkish proposal to set up a regional forum for stability in the Caucasus.
Gül's conciliatory remark came in response to a question on whether he would accept an invitation by Armenian President Serge Sarkisian to go to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia.
He replied he was still evaluating the invitation.
Ankara has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Yerevan since the former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991 because of Armenian efforts to secure international recognition of Armenian massacres under the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
In 1993 Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, then at war with Armenia, dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation in the strategic Caucasus region.
Diplomats from Turkey and Armenia met secretly in Switzerland in July in a fresh effort to normalize ties following three rounds of talks in 2005 and 2006. No progress is so far publicly known.
Turkish and Armenian leaders have meanwhile met on the sidelines of international gatherings, including a Black Sea regional summit in Istanbul last year.
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were killed in orchestrated massacres during World War I as the Ottoman Empire, Turkey's predecessor, was falling apart.
Turkey rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with invading Russian troops.