Arab region seeks Turkey's mediator role: former Lebanese PM

The Arab region expects Turkey to play a positive and constructive role, particularly in Syria and Libya, on the basis of mutual respect, the former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Wednesday.

Siniora, who held the prime minister’s office between 2005 and 2009, was speaking in an online panel discussion on the “Changing Situation of the Middle East and the Prospects of Cooperation and Peace,” organized Tuesday by the Ankara-based Middle East Research Center (ORSAM) and moderated by its director, professor Ahmet Uysal.

Stating that the world is witnessing “trust deficit disorder,” Siniora touched on the rising problems in the world, saying that “international resolutions are ignored and cooperation among countries is still more uncertain than ever.”

Pointing out that multilateralism was “under fire,” the former Lebanese premier said the world needs “commitment to a rule-based order.”

Instability in the region encouraged some “regional and global powers to use the Arab countries as a battlefield,” rather than engaging in cooperation, giving “regional powers, Iran and Israel in particular, a growing role in furthering the destabilization of the region by direct aggression or instigating internal conflicts,” Siniora said.

He pointed out that Iran currently “pursues proxy warfare and direct interference in four Arab countries, namely Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.”

Turkey and the Arab world, on the other hand, “are bound by mutual interests and common cultures and historical roots,” Siniora said.

“The Arab region expects Turkey to play a positive and constructive role, particularly in Syria and Libya, on the basis of mutual respect,” he said. “Turkey should make a very serious attempt to really start a new policy in the region.”

Siniora went on to say Turkey’s new policy should start firstly by “mending relations with the Arab world” and secondly by “trying mediation with the Iranians and talking sense to them, in order to create a new attitude.” He warned that Iran’s current policy leads “nowhere” but “will end up destroying each other.”

He urged regional powers to work together and utilize their resources for their own good as “more and more pressure will be exercised by the superpowers and they are looking for battlefields to exercise new weapons and influence.

“We will be the fuel for that and nothing more, and after they end up destroying the region, they will lend us money to exercise their 21st-century type of colonialism.”

The Lebanese politician stressed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can play a mediation role in the region.

“I suggest an attempt (of mediation) that should be made by President Erdoğan, and I have great admiration for his leadership, policy and good intentions. I think he has to make this attempt and I think he will be coronating his leadership with this work if it succeeded,” said Siniora.