By Lucky Gold, CNN
President Abdullah Gul of Turkey attended the NATO Summit in Chicago this week and appeared Friday on Amanpour. He was asked about the presidential elections in Egypt and whether Egypt’s military would willingly relinquish its power.
“The military is well aware that they cannot continue forever,” said President Gul.
“I went to Egypt,” he added. “I talked to all the military leadership, and they know that it is not their job to run the country. They are going to hand off the authority to the civilian government - but I think it needs some time.”
How much time, remains to be seen. However, he added, “I think the Egyptian army is ready to hand over the authority when the time is preferred.”
We can contribute to them
Prior to the NATO Summit, the G8 countries met at Camp David to discuss the fracturing of the eurozone. In that context, President Gul was asked about Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, just when it seems to be in a state of dis-union.
“We are a part of the European custom union for sixteen years,” said President Gul, “and we are a negotiating country with the E.U. and we...expect more reasonable understanding from our friends in Europe.”
While “the economy in many countries in Europe is not good,” he insisted that “we can contribute to them…We are performing very well. Our incorporation will be helpful.”
No way that President Assad can lead
From the E.U., President Gul turned to Turkey’s troubled neighbor, Syria. He was asked what it will take for Turkey to intervene or persuade the rest of the world to do so.
“Well, it’s an international issue,” said President Gul. “That is why it is being taken to the U.N. Security Council, and we have to be all together, and we…have to stand behind the people’s demand.”
In that light, he said the Annan Plan “is a last chance for the…transformation of Syria… If it is not (fully implemented), then unfortunately the (situation) will yet be worse over there.”
Asked if the United States should play a leadership role, Gul said, “I think the United States is definitely the most important and definitely should engage more in this issue.”
As for Syria’s president, Gul was blunt: “There is no way that President Assad can lead the country anymore.”
On the high seas
Lastly, he was asked about Turkey’s fractured relations with Israel.
“You know, it was not our preference,” said President Gul, “and it was not because of us that the relationship deteriorated. So, if the Israeli government - they want to correct, they…have to take some steps, which is known very well by them.”
Specifically, he referred to the 2010 attack by Israel’s military on a Turkish ship attempting to break the blockade of Gaza with humanitarian aid, in which nine people were killed.
“They attack the international, humanitarian… convoy…nine people (killed) on the high seas, seventy two miles away from the coast – so Turkey’s legitimate demand is to get the apology and compensation.”
He then added, “If Israel takes the decision to meet all of this, then I think the relationship will move forward.
Episode #28: Friday, May 25, 2012
CNN’s Claire Calzonetti produced this piece for television.