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(photo credit: AP [file])
Following Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements that Israel must be wiped off the map, Turkey's key policy paper singled out Iran as a potential source of instability, risk and uncertainty in the region.
The 25-page paper, shaped at the recent meeting of Turkey's National Security Council (MGK), sets the next five years' main policy goals. It is considered by both Turkish military and government officials as the main path to rearranging the future diplomatic perspectives of Ankara, and therefore has crucial importance.
The paper, officially titled a National Security Policy Document (MGSB), underlined that Teheran's ongoing and suspicious nuclear activities are a threat for the whole region. It said that "such nuclear efforts by Iran might create an ideal venue for an intervention by any power that might be deeply concerned."
Syria was also pointed out as a country that should be closely watched over its simmering relations with the west following the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
"[The] policy paper points out that, along with Syria, Iran leads to an uncertainty and risk for Turkey," according to Turkey's Hurriyet daily.
Iranian missile projects were also focused on in the policy paper. The document noted that, in addition to Shihab-3 missiles, which have a range of up to 1,500 kilometers., there were reports based on other countries' intelligence units that Tehran is developing new versions of the Shihab missiles, such as the Shihab-4 and -5, that would be capable of hitting Ankara.
The document also said that most of the stability in the region is dependant on an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and advised Turkish authorities to follow "a policy of balance" between the Arab states and Israel. It also notes that an exchange of intelligence with countries like Israel is crucial in the fight against terrorism.