Turkish anti-West mood 'rising'

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has warned that moderate Turks are becoming anti-American and anti-EU.

Minister Abdullah Gul

Mr Gul said many Turks were embittered by the US' support for Israel's actions in Lebanon and by Turkey's problems in joining the EU.

He also said Ankara could be forced to act to stop cross-border raids by Kurdish rebels operating from Iraq.

Mr Gul's comments came in a wide-ranging interview with the UK's Financial Times newspaper.

"Moderate liberal people [in Turkey] are becoming anti-American and anti-EU," he said.

"If our young, educated, dynamic and economically active people become bitter, if their attitudes and feelings are changed, it is not good.

"Their feeling has changed towards these global policies and strategic issues. This is dangerous."

On the EU accession talks, Mr Gul said failure to resolve the dispute with Cyprus was "poisoning" the process that was formally launched in June.

Cyprus has threatened to veto the Turkish bid unless Ankara officially recognises it and opens its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes.

But Mr Gul said Turkish lawmakers would reject such proposals unless the Cypriots also lifted their veto on any direct trade with the Turkish Cypriot government in northern Cyprus, which is not internationally recognised.

He also suggested that some EU states seemed to be hiding behind the Cyprus issues to delay Turkey's accession talks.

Kurdish issue

On the Middle East issue, Mr Gul said US policies were causing a backlash in Turkey and the region.

Washington's support for Israel did not help solve the problem, he said.

And he again warned that Turkey would have to act if the US and Iraq failed to stop by the Turkish Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, which is operating from Iraq.

Washington - a long-term ally of Ankara - has warned Turkey against taking unilateral military action against PKK bases in northern Iraq.

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