Peres: Turkey, Iran offer differing models

President tells Oxford University many Muslims will have to make choice between "Iranian school of domination and Turkish school of cooperation."

peres talks in London 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
peres talks in London 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that Iran and Turkey offered different models for how the Muslim world deals with other countries. "Many Muslims will have to make their choice between the Iranian school of domination and the Turkish school of cooperation," Peres said in a speech at Oxford University. Peres ignored hecklers declaring their support for a Palestinian state and told an audience of around 1,000 university students that Israel was negotiating with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon to find peace in the Middle East. He also gave his support to US President-elect Barack Obama. "It's a great declaration of human rights, the fact that a black person got the top job in our time," he said. Earlier in the day, Peres had spoken about Syria and said making peace with Syria depends on whether Damascus was prepared to rein in Hizbullah in Lebanon. Peres said in a BBC radio interview Tuesday morning that Syria cannot expect Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights while Iran furthers its influence in Lebanon with the help of Syria. Israel is not prepared to tolerate an Iranian presence on its border, Peres said. "If Syria will understand that they can't have the Golan Heights and keep Lebanon as a base for the Iranians, then the decision will be clear. But if she wants the Golan Heights back and keeps her bases in Lebanon - which are really controlled and financed by the Iranians - no Israeli will agree to have Iranians on our borders," said the president. Peres is in London through Friday for a series of engagements including talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His visit comes as Britain's foreign secretary is making the first visit by a senior British official to Damascus since 2001, urging Syria to promote stability in the Mideast. David Miliband has said Syria has key regional responsibilities. Miliband told the BBC that Lebanon was among the issues on his agenda. "Syria certainly has had some big questions to answer about the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, about the situation in Lebanon, about its contribution to the stability of the region," Miliband said.