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'Change of axis' claims are unfounded, Turkish energy minister says

11 June 2010 [16:55] - TODAY.AZ
Turkey's energy minister on Friday rejected claims that Turkey was moving away from the West and toward the Middle East, an assertion that resurfaced this week after the country voted against the U.N.'s latest round of sanctions against Iran.
Turkey has no plans to "shift its axis," Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said.

Answering questions before a meeting with ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, officials in Ankara, Yıldız said the argument that Turkey had changed directions was an unfair allegation.

“Our EU goal should not mean that we will not cooperate with Arab countries and the Middle East,” the minister said.

Turkey and Brazil on Wednesday voted against a new round of sanctions against Iran, measures the United States hopes will curb the Islamic republic's suspect nuclear program.

This month's crisis over a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that was raided by Israeli commandos also brought Turkey's diplomacy into the spotlight. Ankara fiercely condemned its once-ally Israel for the attack, during which eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent were killed.

“Turkey has no agenda or goal about a shift of axis. Turkey, as a strong country, has the capacity to have relations with all countries of the world,” Yıldız said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also strongly rejected allegations in the West that Turkey was shifting toward the East at his speech at the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum on Thursday.

He described the claims as "evil-intentioned" attempts to prevent Turkey from establishing relations with the Arab world.

/Hurriyet Daily News/

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