BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The head of the party that emerged victorious in Turkey's general election said Monday the United States might use weapons of mass destruction against Iraq though it wants Baghdad to rid itself of such weapons.
"There is a possibility that Washington would use weapons of mass destruction against the Iraqi people at a time when it is using Iraqi possession of such weapons as a pretext to hit Baghdad," Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the Justice and Development Party, told Lebanon's al Mustaqbal newspaper. "This contradictory stand contradicts our humanitarian understandings."
The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, scored a sweeping victory in Turkish parliamentary elections on Nov.3.
Erdogan said the American people did not fully support a military strike against Iraq and there continue to be a difference on the issue between Washington and most European countries.
"We have noticed a change in the U.S. position itself and I believe if the (U.N. weapons) inspectors return with positive reports from Baghdad, there will be no military action," Erdogan said. "Everybody now sees a breakthrough in the Iraqi problem and we hope that peace and stability will be achieved in Iraq and the region as soon as possible."
He reiterated that Turkey was badly affected by the 1991 Gulf War "and we cannot accept more of these losses and problems."
He said that if peace were achieved, "Turkey's role will grow stronger and be more influential."
He said his party's goal was to "prevent war in Iraq and solve the problem peacefully and by political means," and its "position will be clearer" once it take over.
The AKP won 363 seats in the 550-member parliament, but Erdogan was barred from running for parliament because of a conviction for inciting religious hatred.
The AKP started out as an Islamist party, but Erdogan maintains that it is now a conservative democratic party that intends to preserve "moral, historical and social values but with a modern democratic mentality."