Abdullah Gul: Successful Nuclear Diplomacy Benefits Mideast

Abdullah Gul: Successful Nuclear Diplomacy Benefits Mideast Abdullah Gul: Successful Nuclear Diplomacy Benefits Mideast

The former Turkish president says the settlement of the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program could have positive "strategic" implications for the Middle East region.    

In an article entitled "Middle East Points of Light" which appeared on Sunday on the website of Project Syndicate, Abdullah Gul wrote, "Successful nuclear talks with Iran (in which I have been involved, as foreign minister and president, at various stages) would have major strategic, political, and economic consequences for the Middle East and the world.

"A solution might motivate Iran to facilitate the resolution of other regional problems. Moreover, other powers in the region that have or are believed to have a nuclear arsenal will have no excuse to oppose disarmament." Iran denies its nuclear work may have any military objectives, saying the program is solely for peaceful applications, including electricity generation.

  Unprecedented Turmoil   

Abdullah Gul, who was the president of the Republic of Turkey from 2007 – 2014, pointed to the current challenges and crisis in the Middle East and said, "The turmoil engulfing the Middle East is like nothing we have seen before. That is why optimism is needed more than ever. Only by building upon positive developments and visions can regional peace and stability be restored and secured. The alternative may be too grim for even a pessimist to imagine."

He also said the US-led coalition against the self-declared Islamic States (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria "will not be enough to defeat the group," adding, "Ultimately, the solution lies in patiently building an inclusive political framework that wins the support of local people and leaders who, despairing and fearful, have been lured to the extremists' cause."

Gul urged world powers to learn from their past "mistakes" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and said, "Use of hard power against ISIS (another acronym for the Islamic State) may not have run its course, the mistakes made in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria must not be repeated: strategies for military exit and political transition must be considered without delay."

"Because ISIS is a phenomenon that crystallizes the entire region's political, ideological, economic, and social pathologies, possible solutions must be bold and comprehensive," he noted. Tehran and Ankara have differing views on the Syrian crisis. Turkey has backed some rebel groups in the crisis-hit Arab country and called for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Iran believes that support for rebel groups operating in Syria should be cut off and that the Syrian government should be backed in its campaign against terrorism.