WASHINGTON (JTA) — Turkey will never endorse a military strike on Iran, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a Washington audience.
"A military strike is a disaster. It should not be an option, especially at this turning point in our region," he said last Friday in an address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It is not reasonable, it is not feasible and we will be against it as Turks. We will never ever endorse any military strike."
Israeli and U.S. officials have said that "all options are on the table" when it comes to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
By saying it was not "feasible" and that Turkey would not endorse it, Davutoglu may have been signalling that Turkish territory would be off-limits should Israel or the United States execute such a strike.
In a separate meeting with reporters, Davutoglu, who recently met with Iranian officials, said he would tell U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when he meets her on Monday that Iran is ready to negotiate on the nuclear issue.
Much of Davutoglu’s talk was focused on criticizing Russia for vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign in the wake of a crackdown on protesters that so far has claimed more than 5,000 lives.
He likened Iran, Syria and Israel to one another, saying that they are resisting democracy movements as they sweep the region. Davutoglu blamed Israel and its refusal to freeze settlement building for the impasse in peace talks with the Palestinians and praised advances in unity talks between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, saying such unity is a prerequisite for peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will not negotiate with a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas, which Israel, the United States and many European countries consider a terrorist group.