'Lawrence of Arabia' figures still at work: Erdogan
"Spies are springing out from our own countries in the shape of a journalist, writer or even a terrorist," the Turkish president says

Modern day ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ figures that aim to destabilize the entire region from within are still at play, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.

The Turkish president made the reference to T. E. Lawrence, a British Army officer credited with instigating an Arab insurgency against the then Ottoman Turkish rule during World War I, in his address at Istanbul's Marmara University.

‘Lawrence of Arabia’ is also the name of an epic 1962-Hollywood movie that attempted to give an autobiographical account of the famous British "spy.”

"Lawrence was an English spy in Arab land. But currently, the spies are springing out from our own countries in the shape of a journalist, writer or even a terrorist. You can witness the new ‘Lawrences’ trying to set the region on fire," Erdogan said.

The Turkish head of state said that such "Lawrences” could also be seen in Turkey and its surrounding areas that claim of talking only about "voluntary service, freedom of expression and freedom of press, or saying independence war, unfortunately."

He said "the artificially-made" borders in the Middle East that were drawn by imperial powers after World War I were the "real cause of long-term pain and crises” in the region.

He said there should be no borders in the minds and hearts of the Middle Eastern people. He added that Turkey had its own part to play in the fight against sectarianism, ethnic divisions and all other divisions in the Middle East.

"Turkey is the only country that can provide peace in the region. Turkey is the hope of the Middle Eastern people. Turkey can remove the barriers between Middle Eastern people not by changing physical borders, but by instilling hope and trust," he said.

The Turkish president reiterated the state policy that the removal of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or the ISIL, terror group was not enough and that deposing of President Bashar al-Assad regime should be the main target.

The ISIL is currently advancing on the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border. An estimated 200,000 Syrian Kurd refugees have already fled into Turkey over the last three weeks.

"Syria has many Kobanis. What will happen to Aleppo, Latakia, Turkmen and other people after Kobani is saved?” he asked.

Erdogan again highlighted the necessity of forming a no-fly zone and a safe zone in Syria, along with continuing the U.S.-led international airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria's north.

"The moderates should be trained and equipped either in Turkey or inside those safe zones, so they can conduct their war against the Assad regime."

He also criticized the Kurdistan Workers’ Party's claims the Turkish government was doing nothing to halt the advance of the ISIL in Kobani, which sparked last week's protests in Turkey that killed 34 people.

He also criticized the People's Democratic Party, or the HDP, for its call to people to come out on the streets on the pretext of supporting Kobani.

Last Modified: 2014-10-14 08:35:26
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