Turkey's PM: First give up nuclear weapons to impose Iran sanctions

Erdogan said that countries opposed to Iran's atomic programme should give up their own nuclear weapons.

Turkey's PM: First give up nuclear weapons to impose Iran sanctions

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that countries opposed to Iran's atomic programme should give up their own nuclear weapons and described the sanctions imposed on his neighbour as arrogant.

He also said he wanted the Middle East, and then the whole world, to rid itself of nuclear weapons.

During a trip to Iran this week, Erdogan said he backed Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear energy and called its approach in nuclear talks with Western powers positive.

"... those who criticise Iran's nuclear programme continue to possess the same weapons," said Erdogan, according to an advance copy, carried by state-run Anatolian news agency, of a televised address he made at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

"I think that those who take this stance, who want these arrogant sanctions, need to first give these (weapons) up. We shared this opinion with our Iranian friends, our brothers."

Erdogan also said Turkey wants the Middle East, and in time the world, to be free of nuclear weapons. "We want to live in a region completely purged of nuclear weapons. We want to live in a world in which nuclear weapons no longer exist," he said.

Erdogan has tried to expand Turkey's influence in the Middle East and make it a regional power since his party took office in 2002.

Erdogan also reiterated previous remarks that Turkey and Iran have set themselves a target of more than tripling annual bilateral trade by 2011 to $30 billion.

Iran says it enriches uranium for civilian applications and that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a right to the technology already in the hands of many others.

However, most experts estimate that Israel has at least between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1980s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country's Dimona nuclear reactor.

Israel, which has initiated several wars in the region in its 60-year history, has not denied having nuclear weapons, but has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its facilities for IAEA perusal.

Israel also often threatens Iran an attack over its nuclear sites.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Kasım 2009, 09:52
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