Posts Tagged ‘Ahmet Davutoglu’

Hillary harks back to her Girl Scout days and a song many of us can remember having sung in rounds: “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

Reminding us that in the days following 9/11 NATO invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all, she launches a review of U.S.-European relations since the end of World War II, through the Cold War, and including deteriorating relations during the George W. Bush administration.

Upon assuming the post of secretary of state, she recalls, she made phone calls to European leaders letting them know we remain tight friends.  Her first opportunity to reinforce that message face-to-face came with her attendance at the April 2009 G-20 summit in London.

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 2: London


She formed an especially good working relationship with then UK Foreign Minister David Miliband, but allows that she also had a good rapport with then Shadow Foreign Minister, William Hague who now holds the post.  She dubs Hague “the David Beckham of toasting.”


Prime Minister Cameron Meets With U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 3: Germany, France, Czech Republic

She also singles out former French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, as one with whom she had an especially good rapport.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R

If your eyes welled up at times when reading the previous chapter about Pakistan, Hillary evokes smiles and laughter with her description of Former French president, Nicholas Sarkozy.  Revealing that often his interpreters had trouble keeping pace with him and that he asked her why all the other diplomats were unforgivably old, gray, and male,  she revisits that simply charming “Cinderella” moment when she lost her shoe on the steps of the Élyseé Palace.  (Posts here are not necessarily deep and analytical – as you may know.)

Hillary Clinton Loses Her Shoe And Looks Adorable Doing It!


She speaks of her strong admiration for German Chancellor Angela Merkel with whom she apparently shares a “color memo” phenomenon so uncanny that on a state visit in June 2011 Angela brought her a framed German front page where readers were challenged to guess which was which sans benefit of visible heads.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s State Visit Today

Video: Secretary Clinton at the State Luncheon in honor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel Meets With Barack Obama

Hillary provides a pretty extensive retrospective on NATO, its post Cold War expansion in eastern Europe, and its contributions to operations in Afghanistan and in Libya.  She is very passionate on the subject of NATO calling it one the most successful military alliances in history (and the European Union one of the most successful political ones).  She contrasts 75% of the sorties over Libya striking 90% of the targets with the situation a decade before when the U.S. was responsible for hitting 90% of targets in Kosovo.   Her attestations on pages 231 and 232 are presidential (to the surprise of no one here).   A thing to behold.

Madeleine Albright was known for her brooch-diplomacy. Some of her foreign counterparts came to see her brooches as a mood-coding system.  Hillary, who is, after all, a self-described hair icon,  relates an amusing exchange when she was in Bulgaria (NATO member since 2004) in February 2012.  Prime Minister Boyko Borissov seemed edgy.  He finally confessed that he had heard that when her hair was pulled back it indicated a bad mood.  She reassured him that she was not engaging in hair diplomacy but that it “takes her a little longer” to get her look together.

Secretary Clinton with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov

Turkey has been in NATO since 1952, is strategically very important, but following the G.W. Bush administration the Turkish people took a dim view of the U.S.  Hillary’s first visit there as secretary of state was in March 2009.  She made it a point on that trip to take advantage of mass media.

Hillary Clinton’s Interviews in Turkey

On pages 234-235 she explains the term Islamist Party.  It is an important read.  She discusses [now outgoing] Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at length and states her concerns regarding his “Zero Problems with Neighbors” policy, which, on first take, can appear very positive.  Hillary cites the real and potential pitfalls of such a policy, especially when Iran is one of your neighbors. [Reports are that Erdogan will continue calling the shots, so it is unlikely that this policy will be abandoned.]

Ahmet Davutoglu came into the picture early as a close advisor to Erdogan but soon became the Turkish foreign minister with whom she collaborated over nearly her entire term.  (Ali Babacan was the foreign minister she encountered on her first trip there.)  Only three months after that trip, Davutoglu arrived at the State Department as foreign minister and a long working relationship commenced.

(As I returned to the first draft of this post to edit it, Davutoglu was named the new prime minister of Turkey.  Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister and the best of luck to you in your new post!)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sh Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ahmet Davutoglu


Hillary Clinton’s Bilaterals Today

Concerns remain.  Dissent is not easily tolerated.  Religious freedom is an issue.  Hillary  hosted Patriarch Bartholomew at a dinner in his honor early in her tenure at State.

Hillary Hosts The Patriarch

He, in turn, received her at the Patriarchy in 2011.  She has known him for a long time and has enormous respect for his opinion.   There is a beautiful slideshow at the link below.  Hillary mentions seized church property that has not been returned.  The photos provide an idea of the nature of what the government is holding.

Hillary Clinton Visits the Patriarchy in Istanbul

In chapter 9, we saw Hillary negotiate the re-opening of the supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan.  She never makes a big deal of that, but it was a testament to her diplomatic skills.  Without those lines open, important supplies could not get to the troops,  and they were closed for many months.

Another of her major accomplishments was one which she was never intended to handle and which she describes blow-by-blow.   She had traveled to Zurich simply to witness the signing of the Turkey-Armenia Accord.  It was to be a quick stop on the way to London.  A formality.  At the last minute  Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian balked about a speech Davutoglu was planning to make.   Hillary took it upon herself to fetch him and, using two cell phones,  negotiate an agreement for the parties to go ahead with the signing.  She operated mostly  in her SUV.  It was a very dramatic day.  She saved it, and at the event stepped aside for her Swiss counterpart,  Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who was the host, to orchestrate the formalities.  I remember her giving Micheline a little wink of encouragement.  In typical Hillary fashion, she did not care to boast or take credit for this.  She only cared that the work got done.

OK! Now it is a done deal! Hillary helped negotiate the agreement

Turkey-Armenia Accord Salvaged and Signed – Hillary Helps Make History!

Video: Signing of the Armenia Turkey Protocols

How Hillary Saved The Day


She departed for the trip to the Balkans that she speaks of on the day of her wedding anniversary 2010.

The Balkans: A Family Affair

There were several notable stops and events on this trip, but she refers specifically to this town hall.

Hillary Clinton’s Town Hall at National Theater Sarajevo

And then there was Kosovo where there was a huge reception in Pristina.  She stood beneath the enormous statue of Bill Clinton, and then discovered a store named for her (so Bill wouldn’t be lonely).

Hillary in Clinton Country (Kosovo, That Is!)

No matter where she traveled as secretary of state, Hillary always made sure to hold a meet-and-greet at the embassy or consulate that had hosted her to thank them for all of the work they had done to make her visit go smoothly.  As it happened, her final stop as secretary of state was especially significant because it was at the Consulate General of Belfast.  Peace in Northern Ireland had been a high priority of the Clinton administration and hard work on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Irish Sea had brought that troubled land closer to that goal than it ever had been before.

Video: Hillary Clinton with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness

Hillary Clinton at The Ireland Funds Luncheon

Hillary Clinton with Staff and Families of Consulate General Belfast

Her remarks in the bilaterals at the link below contain references to the March 2009 attacks in Antrim and Armagh that she speaks about in this chapter.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hillary Clinton’s Statement of Northern Ireland Decommissioning

She mentions, as well, her address to the Northern Ireland Assembly in October 2009.

Address of Secretary Clinton to Full Session of the Northern Ireland Assembly

The passages I bolded in the background briefing [in the link below] reflect,  I think,  what is so typical of the Hillary Clinton so many of us know and love,  the Hillary who works tirelessly in the background and declines credit for the good she does.   I am very certain that her intervention was integral in attaining this latest ascension up the tall ladder of unity in Northern Ireland.  But Hillary Clinton will always deflect the praise and aim the limelight on others with whom she has labored to reach an accord.  That is simply who she is and how she operates.  It is also very much a quality of character so many of us accept and admire about her.  I,  for one, am very mindful of the role she has long been playing in this peace process.   I know the devolution will succeed,  and there will be a final and lasting peace.  When it does, I and many, will forever remember the key role she played in the process, even as she disclaims it.

Secretary Clinton on Northern Ireland

This European chapter has been somewhat active re: updates prior to publication.  In the latest news, may this peacemaker rest in peace.

Former Ireland prime minister Reynolds dies aged 81


Statement by President Clinton on the Passing of Albert Reynolds

Statement August 21, 2014

I am saddened by the passing of former Prime Minister of Ireland Albert Reynolds, who worked hard and risked much as Taoiseach to advance the Northern Ireland peace process.  His leadership alongside British Prime Minister John Major was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement, and our world owes him a profound debt of gratitude.  I will always be grateful for his encouragement, advice, and support in the peace process.  I join with his wife, Kathleen, his children, his many friends, and the people of Ireland in mourning his loss.




Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction


Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>


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With NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and others.

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If you looked at Mme. Secretary’s schedule today, you saw that between major speaking events this morning on UNAIDS and Sahel and her address at the Security Council on Middle East Peace and Security, there were three bilaterals: one with her Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, and two with heads of state, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Tunisian President Marzouki, pictured below.

I was able, this afternoon, to watch the webcasts of her address to the Security Council followed immediately by her remarks at the Somalia meeting.   There was zero extra time between these.  She had the leave the Security Council in order to make the next event.  Subsequently she had two more bilaterals with Burmese President Thein Sein and Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas respectively.

Wearing two hats takes some juggling, and she has been doing very that gracefully and well.  She is covering her own scheduled events as SOS but also squeezing in these bilaterals with heads of state that normally would fall to the president who is so busy campaigning.   But it is understandable that some frustration might ensue, and evidently it did  this morning when her meeting with Davutoglu had to be cut short due to scheduling.  According to a senior State Department official, she and her Turkish counterpart did not manage, in the 25 minutes allotted, to address all the intended issues.  “They both left somewhat frustrated that they didn’t get through their full agendas….”   The official speculated that they may be able to catch up with each other at a few shared events on Friday.

In a separate briefing directly following the first, some background was shared regarding tomorrow’s Haiti Partners Ministerial where progress following last year’s elections and earthquake recovery will be on the agenda.  Perhaps we will once again see both Clintons active as we did at this event on March 31, 2010.  (The official did not say we would, but we can hope.)

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We all hope that Mme. Secretary has arrived home from this marathon trip and is starting a well-deserved rest and vacation in East Hampton.    Here are a few pictures from her visit to Turkey yesterday.  She met with Syrian refugees, with Prime Minister Erdogan,  President Gul at the Tarabiya Palace, and, of course, with her counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu with whom she gave a press availability.

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Remarks With Foreign Minister Davutoglu After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Conrad Hotel
Istanbul, Turkey
August 11, 2012

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: (Via translator.) Today (inaudible) Her Excellency, the Secretary of State of America, Ms. Hillary Clinton. This is the (inaudible) time that she (inaudible) visit to — the second time that we were able to visit together. (Inaudible) and anti-terrorism, and she (inaudible). Recently we also attended United Nations initiatives in Paris and Geneva.

Today we came together again in order to (inaudible) recent developments, particularly within the conflict with Syria. Some very important developments took place concerning Syria there recently (inaudible). Unfortunately, the transition plan that we (inaudible) Geneva (inaudible), unfortunately, and diplomatic activities were interrupted significantly.

(Inaudible) international community efforts in order to (inaudible) contribute to peace-building process in the Middle East. However, the resignation of Kofi Annan had negative repercussions on the diplomatic efforts in the region. And the humanitarian situation in the Middle East and Syria, particularly, is not very promising. Now we have more than 55,000 refugees (inaudible) in Turkey. And every day 3,000 refugees want to enter from Turkish borders. We always want to open our doors to our Syrian brothers and sisters, and we have been mobilizing our resources in order to help them as much as we can. But this increasing number of refugees is a clear indicator of the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Syria. And we expect that broader collaboration on the part of the international community in order to resolve this issue.

As long as the Syrian conflict continues, the humanitarian situation will deteriorate even further. So, as soon as possible, we need to take decisive steps in order to stop the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Syria. What is going on in Aleppo is particularly very sad. The air strikes do not only cause humanitarian but also social and historical damage. So the international community needs to take some very decisive steps in order to stop it. And we talked about (inaudible) Ms. Hillary Clinton. The transition process in Syria needs to be completed as soon as possible. And there should be no room for power vacuum in the transition process, because terrorist organizations like PKK will try to benefit from a possible power vacuum. That is why we need to take joint efforts in order to prevent the power vacuum from being formed.

We will take up some joint efforts, of course, under the leadership of the United States of America. We will closely follow the developments in Syria and in the broader region. And we will keep evaluating the situation on the ground. In the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council, and as friends of Syria, we will also take some steps in the future. We talked about (inaudible) as well. We will look at the reality on the ground, international aid, and also the humanitarian situation. So, Ms. Clinton’s visit is indeed a very timely one. And from that one we will also keep following the situation together through conference calls and through delegations.

We also talked about (inaudible) Egyptian soldiers, which is a very sad development. And Syria has also problems with its neighbors right now, like Tunisia.

And I would like to say welcome to Ms. Hillary Clinton again. The floor is yours.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister. And again, it is a great pleasure for me to be here in Istanbul. I want to begin by expressing my condolences for the injuries and loss of life sustained in the PKK’s vicious attack on a Turkish military bus two days ago.

I want to thank you for the opportunity for these consultations. Since the Friends of Syrian People met over a month ago in Paris, the crisis has deepened significantly. As the opposition has gained strength, the regime has responded with brutal violence. Even many of the regime’s previous supporters are now distancing themselves and there have been a series of high-level defections. The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the Assad regime and calling for a peaceful political transition. Unfortunately, Russia and China blocked needed action in the Security Council.

Today we met to discuss what the United States and Turkey can do together, along with our international partners and our friends inside and outside of Syria, to respond to this growing humanitarian and political crisis. In particular, we had detailed conversations about three urgent priorities. First, supporting the opposition and their efforts to end the violence and begin the transition to a free and democratic Syria without Assad. The United States continues to provide the opposition with communications equipment and other forms of non-lethal assistance and direct financial assistance. We are coordinating our efforts with others who are also providing various forms of support.

Today we compared notes between the American and Turkish teams on support for the opposition, developing a common operational picture, and discussing how we can enhance our collaboration between ourselves and along with others to hasten the end of the violence.

As we work to help the opposition inside Syria, we are continuing to increase pressure from outside. Yesterday in Washington we announced sanctions designed to expose and disrupt the links between Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria that prolonged the life of the Assad regime. We urge other governments to support our sanctions with additional actions of their own.

Second, even as we seek to hasten Assad’s fall, we are also responding to the massive emergency humanitarian crisis that he has caused. United Nations estimates that approximately two million people inside Syria need assistance, and more than 140,000 others have fled to Syria’s neighbors. As you heard the minister say, around 50,000 to 55,000 of them are here in Turkey, and more are likely on the way.

I have to thank the government and the people of Turkey for your very generous hospitality to these men, women, and children who are fleeing for safety. Turkey has literally not only opened your borders, but your arms and your hearts.

And just now the minister and I met with a small group of Syrian women living in the Turkish camps. I have been in many meetings with refugees. I never have been in a meeting where all of the refugees uniformly praised their host government for the wonderful reception and support they have received. We heard their terrible stories. One woman fled after the regime’s forces burned down her village. Another came after they broke into her home, beat her and her children. And I simply cannot say enough about what Turkey is doing to support the victims of this unrelenting cruelty. The government is providing Syrians in the Turkish camps with shelter, food, access to health and education services at a very great financial cost.

As the need continues to grow, so does our response. Today I am announcing we plan to contribute an additional $5 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and $500,000 to the International Organization for Migration to support displaced Syrians inside Turkey. With these contributions, the United States is now providing nearly $82 million for food, emergency healthcare, blankets, hygiene kits, and other humanitarian relief.

Now, no one can predict how soon this regime will finally be brought to an end. But we know the day will come. So our third urgent task is to prepare for what comes next. The Syrian people will, of course, and must leave the transition, and they will need to maintain the integrity of the state’s political institutions. They will need to stabilize and eventually rebuild their economy to establish security, safeguard, and eventually destroy the country’s most dangerous weapons, including its chemical weapons. They will need to protect the rights of all Syrians, regardless of religion, gender, or ethnicity. And they will need to address the ongoing human and humanitarian challenges. All of this will need careful planning and support from the international community.

Last month major opposition groups came together in Cairo to voice their support for a detailed transition plan and a vision of Syria that is united, pluralistic, and democratic. They have since begun to rally support for this plan inside Syria. Today we consulted with each other on how we can all support that plan and, at the same time, prepare for a range of contingencies. From here, we will engage other partners as we get ready for the upcoming international meetings in the coming weeks.

I also met with a group of activists — legal experts, journalists, student leaders — to hear about their efforts, and to discuss what more the United States can do to support them.

And finally, we again expressed our solidarity with Turkey in confronting the PKK terrorists, and our condolences to the families of those who have fallen to such cowardly attacks. We share Turkey’s determination that Syria must not become a haven for PKK terrorists, whether now or after the departure of the Assad regime.

Now, I think it is important to state that we have a difficult road ahead us, but the real difficulty is for the Syrian people themselves. But in each of the areas I have mentioned, and so much more, Turkey is a leader. And we are proud that Turkey is our partner.

I thank the minister once again for his efforts to help the Syrian people. I am looking forward to discussing this and other issues with the prime minister and president later this afternoon. But again, let me thank you for these very important consultations at such a critical time.


MODERATOR: We will take a few questions and then (inaudible).

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, for you, can you tell us a little bit more in detail about your meeting with the opposition activists? Did you get a better sense of whether they are really prepared to be able to be involved in leading a transition? What kind of questions did you ask them about who is actually doing the fighting on the ground? And what kind of answers did you get?

And then, for both of you, there has been a lot of talk about this common operational picture. What exactly is that common operational picture? Does it involve the potential of this corridor from Aleppo, north to the border here, turning into some kind of safe haven? And does it include anything on how to deal with the chemical weapons that everyone has expressed concern about? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to the activists with whom I met, I listened carefully to their descriptions of what each was doing. One young man had just come out of Aleppo, and was intending to return. They, to a person — there were both men and women there — are committed to a pluralistic, democratic, inclusive Syria. And each is doing his or her part.

There is work going on about telling the story. There is no free media inside Syria, as there is, very evidently, here in Turkey. So how does the story get out in an authoritative way?

And another talking about the work being done on justice and accountability, documenting the abuses that are occurring so that there will be no impunity when there finally is a new government and a new opportunity for the Syrian people to hold those who perpetrated these abuses accountable.

A lot of attention, particularly from the women, to what is happening to women inside Syria, the abuses that they are subjected to by the regime, the need for women to be partners in a new Syria, to be heard and to participate as they try to form the basis for a transition.

We heard from the representatives of the students who are still peacefully protesting on university campuses and trying to organize and support the opposition. There was concern expressed about the apparent lack of unity among the outside opposition and a hope that, as one young man said, the opposition will rise to the occasion and be able to present a unified front, both inside and outside of Syria, going forward.

We heard firsthand, as I said, from the young man who had just been in Aleppo about the tremendous courage of those who are withstanding the assaults from tanks and aircraft, and how important it is to work for ways to support those on the ground without making the suffering worse. There is a very clear understanding about the need to end this conflict quickly, but not doing it in a way that produces even more deaths, injuries, and destruction.

So, I came away very impressed by these young activists, and very committed to increasing the assistance we are already providing. Several of those present have already received support from the United States. As you know, we are providing $25 million in non-lethal aid, mostly communications, to civil society and activists. And I don’t want to go into any further details as to how we are helping people, at the risk of endangering them at this time.

Regarding the planning, what the minister and I agreed to today was to have very intensive operational planning. We have been closely coordinating over the course of this conflict. But now we need to get into the real details of such operational planning. And it needs to be across both of our governments. Certainly our two ministries are coordinating much of it. But our intelligence services, our military, have very important responsibilities and roles to play. So we are going to be setting up a working group to do exactly that.

And both the minister and I saw eye to eye on the many tasks that are ahead of us, and the kinds of contingencies that we have to plan for, including the one you mentioned in the horrible event that chemical weapons were used. And everyone has made it clear to the Syrian regime that is a red line for the world, what would that mean in terms of response and humanitarian and medical emergency assistance, and of course, what needs to be done to secure those stocks from every being used, or from falling into the wrong hands.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: (Via translator.) Concerning our joint efforts, Ms. Clinton already informed extensively. There are two main focal points for us. One the one hand, again, some possible worst-case scenarios. We are going to be (inaudible) to plan how we are going to react as the international community and as United States of America and Turkey.

Recent developments in Aleppo have shown that a gigantic wave of migration can result from all these atrocities. And there might also be some groups who might try to benefit from a possible power vacuum. And we have seen signs of this recently in certain regions in Syria. And another potential threat is the chemical weapons, as we have already mentioned. So, against all the possible worst case scenarios, we decided to work together and of course include some other international actors as well.

If there is a huge wave of refugee migration, then we need to maybe establish a mechanism within Syria in order to ensure humanitarian protection. Of course, we might try to protect people if they seek refuge in our territory. But they have to (inaudible) bombardment every day in Syrian territory. If they are exposed to air strikes every day and bombardments every day, this might even be considered war crime. So, in such a case, an international community can no longer keep its silence, and there are certain measures that need to be taken up, in addition to UN-level negotiations.

Turkey is putting utmost effort in order to ensure the protection of Syrian people. Turkey and the United States of America have been working in a coordinated manner already, but we need to brace for impact. So we need to focus on more practical, more pragmatic, and to-the-point solutions. This is the decision that we have taken.

And after the transition period, a new Syria will emerge. And we will have to establish law and order and public order in that new Syria. We need to ensure that the transition is a smooth one, and there will be no room for ethnic conflicts in Syria. So we need to prepare for this future Syria today, as international community, in order not to encounter some unpleasant surprises in the future. So we need to be ready for any possible crisis, and we need to prepare for the future of Syria.

We had already been working in a coordinated manner with United States of America. But now our coordination will become even more systematized and structured. Today’s meeting has been a very fruitful one in order to lay the foundation for this.

QUESTION: Hi. (Inaudible.) Madam Secretary, you mentioned you met Syrians this morning. But Syrians I have spoken to inside or outside Syria are extremely frustrated with international — what they see as the international community’s lack of response. And they basically feel left alone at this point.

You talked about non-lethal aid. You talked about post — day-after planning. You talked about helping refugees. But in terms of given that Aleppo is being bombarded, and given that there is a huge suffering inside major cities and about roughly over 100 people die every day, have you also discussed actionable, tangible steps, whether it is safety zones, no-fly zones, Security Council resolutions, or other forms of assistance that could impact their day-to-day life?

And quickly, I wanted to follow up, if you don’t mind, just — there is a good deal of anxiety in Turkish public about the Kurdish presence and potential PKK presence in the northern parts of Syria. In your assessment, is this something that concerns you? And, you know, have you looked into the PKK presence or power? And what is your assessment on that? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. As to your first question, the issues you posed within your question are exactly the ones that the minister and I have agreed need greater in-depth analysis. It is one thing to talk about all kinds of potential actions. But you cannot make reasoned decisions without doing intense analysis and operational planning. And we share not only the frustration, but the anger and outrage of the Syrian people at what this regime continues to do. But we also are well aware that its brutality seems to know no bounds. And there is no — you know, there is no doubt in the minds of the minister or myself that anything we do should be to hasten and lessen bloodshed, not to catalyze even greater and more horrible kinds of assaults.

So, really doing contingency planning, sorting this out, is what we have agreed to do. We have a very long list that we have gone through this morning on all kinds of issues, both before the inevitable fall of Assad and after. But we have to be very careful, and we have to do it in a way that always keeps in mind our goal, number one, is to hasten the end of the bloodshed and the Assad regime. That is our strategic goal. And we have to analyze everything against that goal. And then, of course, we want to be good partners in helping the Syrian people build the kind of democratic, pluralistic society and government that will respect human rights and restore a better future. So, this is how we are proceeding.

Regarding the PKK, let me just underscore that the United States remains strongly committed to the defense of our Turkish ally. Together we are working to root out violence extremism and to address the many regional security issues we face. And amongst those we stand firmly with Turkey against the PKK.

Now, your question was is there reason to worry about enhanced PKK activity arising out of the vacuum created by violence and the brutality of the regime within Syria, and the answer is yes. We worry about terrorists, PKK, al-Qaeda, and others taking advantage of the legitimate fight of the Syrian people for their freedom to use Syria to promote their own agendas, and even to perhaps find footholds to launch attacks against others.

So, we are absolutely committed to supporting Turkey against the PKK, and we will do so in any way that protects Turkey and the people of this nation from this kind of terrorism.


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Syrian Shoot-Down of Turkish Aircraft


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 24, 2012

I spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu yesterday to convey our grave concern about the downing of a Turkish F-4 fighter jet by Syrian forces on June 22. I also told him that our thoughts and prayers are with the missing pilots and their loved ones. The Foreign Minister briefed me on the specifics of the incident, including that the Syrian military shot its plane down without warning. The United States condemns this brazen and unacceptable act in the strongest possible terms. It is yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities’ callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security.

The United States reaffirms its strong support for the Turkish Government and its solidarity with the Turkish people in the wake of this incident. We will maintain close contact with Turkish officials as they continue to investigate the incident and determine Turkey’s response, including in the Security Council. We will work with Turkey and other partners to hold the Assad regime accountable.

Turkey has been a leader in the international community’s effort to address the Syrian regime’s violence against its own people. We will continue our close cooperation with Turkey as part of our broader efforts to promote a democratic transition in Syria. This work is urgent, and we will be consulting in New York with the Security Council, in Brussels with NATO and the EU, and in Geneva with Special Envoy Kofi Annan on next steps.

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Remarks With Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Istanbul, Turkey
June 7, 2012

MODERATOR: (In Turkish.) We will now begin the award ceremony. United States Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone will officiate.

AMBASSADOR RICCIARDONE: Thank you very much. Our country owes a great debt of gratitude to Turkey and especially to Ambassador Sahinkaya for his tenacious advocacy and support for Americans in distress during the assisted departure of American citizens from Libya last year. Ambassador Sahinkaya and his skillful and persistent efforts on behalf our four New York Times journalists in March of 2011 testify to the durability and the importance of the Turkish-American friendship. At a time of considerable peril and uncertainty, we were very fortunate to have a diplomatic Ambassador Sahinkaya’s fortitude and integrity and skill tending to our shared interest during the Libyan crisis. And so Madame Secretary, if you would be so kind to hand the plaque over to Ambassador Sahinkaya.


Thank you very much.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Ahmet. And thank you and your team for the excellent preparations for this first ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. You just heard from the minister an overview of all that we have been working on. The United States views this forum as an excellent opportunity to pursue our common goal of making the world safe from terrorism, but doing it in a way that is in keeping with human rights and the rule of law. And the announcements that Ahmet just related about continuing work that we will do evidences the approach that we are taking, and I’m very pleased that in just the few short months of its existence, the Global Counterterrorism Forum has already helped generate smart and achievable strategies for combating terrorism, and the United States looks forward to continuing our work.

On a few other issues, I want to thank the minister for the meeting that he hosted last night, the ad hoc meeting on Syria intended to intensify our efforts to support the Syrian people, given the urgency of the situation. The regime-sponsored violence that we witnessed again in Hama yesterday is simply unconscionable. Assad has doubled down on his brutality and duplicity, and Syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable, or certainly democratic until Assad goes. So even as we intensify the sanctions pressure, because as we were meeting in Istanbul, the sanctions working committee of the Friends of the Syrian People was meeting in Washington, the time has come for the international community to unite around a plan for post-Assad Syria. And last night we discussed a number of the steps that we intend to take together.

I will just mention a few of the key elements and principles that are focusing our work. First, the Syrian Government must implement all six points of the Annan initiative, including a real ceasefire agreed to and observed by all parties. Second, Assad must transfer power and depart Syria. Third, an interim representative government must be established through negotiation. And we are firm in our core principles, and we believe we have to keep faith and do justice to the aspirations of the Syrian people. The transition phase must lead to a democratic, representative, and inclusive government. There must be civilian control of the military and security forces and respect for the rule of law and equality before the law for all Syrians regardless of background.

We know that many still cling to the Assad regime because they fear change more. And we have consistently made clear that we support a positive, inclusive democratic transition roadmap. And we have to bring people to that vision and, in effect, move them away from the Assad regime so that they can’t imagine a better future for themselves and Syria.

And secondly, we have to unite the international community behind a plan that is achievable and keeps faith with those inside Syria who are protesting and demonstrating, suffering, and dying for their universal human rights.

We said last night we are prepared to work with any country, including all members of the UN Security Council, and we will do so so long as any such gathering starts from the basic premise that Assad and his regime must give way to a new democratic Syria, and we have to continue to put more pressure and we urge all nations to impose and implement sanctions and close loopholes in existing measures. And we also pledge to improve coordination among the countries that are working with the Syrian opposition. We look forward to a meeting of experts on this subject with representatives of the civilian opposition, hosted by Turkey again in Istanbul at the end of next week. I will be meeting with Kofi Annan tomorrow in Washington. I’ve asked my special advisor on Syrian affairs to go to Moscow tomorrow to discuss the need for a political transition with the Russian Government, and I think we are resolute. None of us is satisfied that the killing continues, but we are determined to move forward together and we reaffirmed that commitment yesterday.

Finally, the foreign minister and I and also the Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and I had an opportunity to review the range of issues our countries are confronting together, including strengthening the economic partnership and cooperation on the transitions in the Middle East and North Africa. And I want to underscore – it probably goes without saying, I said it this morning, I think I’ve said it on every trip to Turkey – the United States stands strongly with Turkey in your fight against the PKK whose long campaign of violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives. And again, let me thank the Ambassador on behalf of the American people for your excellent work in a very difficult time and place.

The United States and Turkey have such a strong and far-ranging relationship that every time Ahmet and I get together, we run out of time before we run out of things to discuss. So I’m grateful for the strong partnership we have, and I look forward always to continuing to deepen and strengthen it in the months and years ahead. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, my friend. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: We will take four questions and we’ll start with the American press. Anyone from the American press?

QUESTION: Yes, Elise Labott.


MODERATOR: Yes, ma’am. Elise.

QUESTION: Thank you. This question is for both of you. A lot of the points that you have laid out in this vision for a roadmap are not necessarily new. You’ve been talking about them since you called on President Assad to step down. So what about this vision do you think is even going to help the Russians – convince the Russians to squeeze President Assad to step down? And if they don’t, at what point do you say this violence, as you said, is unconscionable, we need to move ahead without the Russians?

And specifically for the foreign minister, do you believe that, as Kofi Annan is suggesting and as Russia is suggesting, that Iran should be part of international mediation efforts? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me start. And I think it’s clear to everyone that the violence continues; in fact, if anything it seems to worsen. And we have not been successful yet in bringing about the kind of international action that will make a difference to the Assad regime, but I believe that we are continuing to move in that direction. And clearly, we have to reiterate our unity, we have to send a clear message to other nations that are not yet working with us or even actively supporting the Assad regime, that there’s no future in that. And indeed, planning for an orderly transition, we think, will be an important step, because as I said, there are still many inside Syria – and this is human nature – this is totally understandable – who are not yet convinced that there can be a transition that would not make the situation worse for them, their families, their group, their location.

And so we recognized in our meeting last night we have to do more. We also have to do more with the opposition. The opposition has work to do, and that’s why I mentioned that Turkey will convene a meeting of the opposition. Many of us have been working – both Turkey and the United States have – with elements of the opposition. Now it’s difficult for those inside Syria to leave Syria to come to a meeting, but we have to do more to help organize and focus the opposition.

And finally, we think it is important for us to give Kofi Annan and his plan the last amount of support that we can muster, because in order to bring others into a frame of mind to take action in the Security Council, there has to be a final recognition that it’s not working. And he will be addressing the Security Council today and, as I said, I will see him tomorrow.

And on your last point, regarding Iran, it is hard, for the United States certainly, to imagine that a country putting so much effort into keeping Assad in power, and in effect – as I said yesterday in Baku – helping to stage-manage the repression on the people of Syria, would be a constructive actor. And we think that would not be an appropriate participant at this point to include.


QUESTION: (In Turkish.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, as to the transition in Syria, there are a number of examples that I would point to, but perhaps the most recent is the transition in Yemen. It took, frankly, more than a year. It took a lot of international effort. And finally, then-President Saleh gave up power because the pressure, the sanctions, the isolation was just too much. And so he – actually, after clashes and deaths and threats of civil war, he left power. There is now a new president, and there seems to be some consolidation of social stability and security going on in Yemen. It’s too soon to make predictions, but the transition occurred.

So this is a recent example in the region that we can point to. It’s not at all out of the question that something like that could be presented. But in any event, we know that keeping the pressure up, the economic pressure, the isolation, building the case, making the argument to those who are worried about the alternative or supporting Assad, is the hard work of diplomacy. Ahmet and I would like to be able to stand up here and make a pronouncement and save the lives of innocent Syrians. We’re disgusted by what we see happening. But we know that the hard work ahead requires getting more and more people to agree with us that there must be a transition and to help facilitate it.

With respect to our fight against terrorism, we work very closely together, and in fact, we are learning every week how we can be more closely knit together to cooperate and to support Turkey’s fight against the PKK. I will not discuss potential arms transfers that have not been formally notified to Congress, but I will say that the extensive assistance that we currently provide is going to intensify through closer cooperation and planning, and both the foreign minister and I are committed to making sure both of our governments are as focused and coordinated as we can be going against those that threaten Turkey and Turkish lives.

MODERATOR: I think he has a question over there.


QUESTION: Yes. Madam Secretary, thank you. You met with many of the most concerned allies here not only about Syria, but about Iran. With just a little over 10 days to go until your meeting in Moscow, I was wondering if you could say what you expect from Iran and what will happen if you do not reach – if you do not see the concrete actions that you have hoped for. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me start by restating our objective. It’s one that Turkey and the United States and the international community share, and that is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And that is why we’ve always pursued a two-track policy of pressure and diplomacy. And the United States is committed to finding a peaceful resolution, but as I have said, looking toward the meeting in Moscow, we want Iran to come to that meeting to begin the serious work necessary to take place in order to reach a diplomatic solution.

So we want them to come prepared to take concrete steps, particularly in the area of 20 percent enrichment, and we have said – and this is a unified position of the international community and those of us in this negotiation, which include Russia and China – that in response to their actions, we are prepared to take actions of our own. I am convinced that one of the reasons that Iran came back to the negotiating table was because of the success of our pressure strategy, and I want to express publicly our appreciation to Turkey. This is not easy to work to reduce global reliance on Iranian oil, to unwind business dealings with the Central Bank of Iran.

But from what we hear from many, many sources, the fact that the international community was so united made it difficult for Iran to escape the realization that they were either going to have to come to the table to negotiate or remain very isolated with economic consequences that would be detrimental to their country. So we look for Moscow to show concrete steps that can be taken, and I’m not going to prejudge the outcome. Everyone’s working very hard to try to make it a positive meeting.

QUESTION: (In Turkish.)

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: (Laughter.) The question is hard. (In Turkish.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was a very thorough answer. (Laughter.) I will not add anything to that other than, once again, to say thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and Turkey's FM Davutoglu shake hands before a meeting in Istanbul

Intervention to the Friends of the Syrian People


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
As Prepared
Istanbul, Turkey
April 1, 2012

I want to thank Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Davutoglu and the people of Turkey for hosting us today. Turkey has shown steadfast leadership throughout this crisis. I also want to recognize the continuing contributions of the Arab League and in particular the work of Secretary General Elaraby and the chair of the Syria committee, Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim. To all my colleagues, and to all our friends and partners around the world, thank you for standing by the Syrian people.

We meet at an urgent moment for Syria and the region. Faced with a united international community and persistent popular opposition, Bashar al-Assad pledged to implement Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s initial six point plan. He promised to pull his regime’s forces back and silence its heavy weapons, allow peaceful demonstrations and access for humanitarian aid and journalists, and begin a political transition.

Nearly a week has gone by, and we have to conclude that the regime is adding to its long list of broken promises.

Rather than pull back, Assad’s troops have launched new assaults on Syrian cities and towns, including in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces. Rather than allowing access for humanitarian aid, security forces have tightened their siege of residential neighborhoods in Homs and elsewhere. And rather than beginning a political transition, the regime has crushed dozens of peaceful protests.

The world must judge Assad by what he does, not by what he says. And we cannot sit back and wait any longer. Yesterday in Riyadh, I joined with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to call for an immediate end to the killing in Syria and to urge Joint Special Envoy Annan to set a timeline for next steps. We look forward to hearing his views on the way forward when he addresses the United Nations Security Council tomorrow.

Here in Istanbul, we must take steps of our own to ratchet up pressure on the regime, provide humanitarian relief to people in need, and support the opposition as it works toward an inclusive, democratic and orderly transition that preserves the integrity and institutions of the Syrian state.

First, pressure. On Friday, the United States announced new sanctions against three more senior regime officials: Minister of Defense Rajiha, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army Adanov and Head of Presidential Security Shalish. A growing list of Syria’s worst human rights offenders are learning that they cannot escape the consequences of their actions. I am pleased that the Friends of the Syrian People have agreed to form a sanctions working group, to coordinate and expand our national sanctions and strengthen enforcement. Together we must further isolate this regime, cut off its funds, and squeeze its ability to wage war on its own people.

The United States will also work with international partners to establish an accountability clearinghouse to support and train Syrian citizens working to document atrocities, identify perpetrators, and safeguard evidence for future investigations and prosecutions.

Our message must be clear to those who give the orders and those who carry them out: Stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face serious consequences. Your countrymen will not forget, and neither will the international community.

Turning to the humanitarian effort, the United States is expanding our commitment to help the people of Syria. This week in Washington, I met with the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross and we discussed the urgent needs, especially in the communities suffering under relentless shelling.

In Tunis, I pledged $10 million to fund makeshift field hospitals, train emergency medical staff, and get clean water, food, blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits to civilians who desperately need them, including displaced people. Despite the regime’s efforts to deny access, that aid is starting to get through. So in March we added $2 million to our commitment, and today I am announcing more than $12 million for the Syrian people – for a total of nearly $25 million.

But we know that no amount of aid will be enough if the regime continues its military campaign, targets relief workers, blocks supplies, restricts freedom of movement, and disrupts medical services. So the United States fully supports the UN’s diplomatic effort to secure safe and unfettered access for humanitarian workers and supplies, including a daily, two-hour ceasefire — beginning immediately — to allow aid to get in and wounded civilians to get out. And I want to thank the governments of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq for keeping their borders open and serving as generous hosts to Syrians in great need.

The third track is supporting the opposition as it plans for an inclusive, democratic transition.

Here in Istanbul, the Syrian National Council and a wide range of opposition groups are uniting around a common vision for a free, democratic and pluralist Syria that protects the rights of all citizens and all communities. It is a roadmap for saving the state and its institutions from Assad’s death spiral. And it is worthy of support from the international community and Syrians from every background.

Turning this vision into reality will not be easy, but it is essential. Assad must go and Syrians must choose their own path. Citizens across the country are already laying the groundwork. Peaceful protests continue to swell, with citizens marching in the streets of Syrian cities and towns, demanding dignity and freedom. The regime has done everything it can to prevent peaceful political organizing, and activists and opposition members have been jailed, tortured, and killed. And yet, local councils have emerged all across the country. They are organizing civil resistance and providing basic governance, services and humanitarian relief, even as the shells rain down around them.

To support civil opposition groups as they walk this difficult path, the United States is going beyond humanitarian aid and providing additional assistance, including communications equipment that will help activists organize, evade attacks by the regime, and connect to the outside world – and we are discussing with our international partners how best to expand this support.

In the unlikely event that the Assad regime reverses course and begins to implement the six-point plan, then Kofi Annan will work with the opposition to take steps of its own. But in the meantime, Syrians will continue to defend themselves. And they must continue building momentum toward a new Syria: free, unified, and at peace.

Now that they have a unified vision for transition, it will be crucial for the opposition to translate it into a political action plan to win support among all of Syria’s communities. We’ve seen here in Istanbul that disparate opposition factions can come together. Despite the dangers they face, the next step is to take their case across Syria, to lead a national conversation about how to achieve the future Syrians want and deserve. That’s how the opposition will demonstrate beyond any doubt that they hold the moral high ground, strip away Assad’s remaining support, and expose the regime’s hypocrisy.

So this is where we find ourselves today: Kofi Annan has given us a plan to begin resolving this crisis. Bashar al-Assad has so far refused to honor his pledge to implement it. The time for excuses is over.

President Medvedev calls this the “last chance” for Syria. I call it a moment of truth.

Together we must hasten the day that peace and freedom come to Syria. That solution cannot come fast enough, and we grieve for every lost day and every lost life.

We are committed to this effort and we are confident that the people of Syria will take control of their own destiny. Let us be worthy of this challenge and move ahead with clear eyes and firm determination.

Thank you.

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Remarks Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
February 13, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone. And let me say what a great delight it is for me to welcome my friend and colleague for intensive negotiations and discussions over a range of issues that are of importance to both of us. I am always pleased to have time to meet with Minister Davutoglu because of what the United States and Turkey are working on together, the values that we share, and the commitment to a peaceful, prosperous future, not only for the Turkish and American people but for people everywhere.

I want to say a word about the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India, the attempted attack on Israeli Embassy personnel in Georgia. Terrorism anywhere is an affront to the international community. There are many kinds of attacks that take place around the world. We condemn all forms of terrorism and we stand ready to assist in investigations of these acts and others because of the importance we place on having a strong international front against terrorism.

I think it’s important also to look at the Turkish-American relationship, not only bilaterally but what it means regionally and globally. We stand shoulder to shoulder in so many different ways: as NATO allies in transatlantic defense and stability; as partners united against terrorism from the PKK to al-Qaida; as economic partners working for mutual prosperity through trade and investment and so much more. In the past year, we have spent a lot of time consulting because of the challenges of a fast-changing Middle East and North Africa, from Libya’s transition, to the efforts to strengthen inclusive governance in Iraq, to certainly the situation in Syria.

Syria was at the top of our list of important matters to discuss today. It is deplorable that the regime has escalated violence in cities across the country, including using artillery and tank fire against innocent civilians. We stand with the Syrian people and we are looking for a peaceful resolution. The United States and Turkey have again called on the regime to heed the Arab League’s latest efforts, as well at the international community, to end the killing immediately, withdraw military forces from residential areas, allow in monitors and journalists, release political prisoners, and begin a genuine, sincere, democratic transition that starts with a respectful serious dialogue with the opposition.

The United States strongly supports the efforts of the Arab League as set forth at the conclusion of their meeting in Cairo. And we look forward to joining the Arab League initiative for the Friends of Syria group, which will have its first meeting in Tunisia next week. Certainly, Minister Davutoglu and myself will play a very active role in trying to search for solutions. We will intensify our diplomatic pressure on the regime to end its campaign of violence. We will strengthen our targeted sanctions, bring the international community together in condemnation of the actions of the Assad regime. We will increase our outreach to opposition both inside and outside of Syria.

And particularly we will work closely with Turkey and other partners to address the growing humanitarian concerns of those who are suffering. We have heard the call of the Syrian people for help and we are committed to working to allow the entry of medical supplies, of emergency help to reach those who are wounded and dying. We are increasing our funding to organizations like the Red Crescent, the International Committee for the Red Cross, and we’re working directly with Syrian organizations at the grassroots to help families who have no electricity, food, or clean water.

And because of the process leading toward Tunisia, we will work closely with Turkey and others to promote a political process. This is essential, and the Syrian people deserve no less than a democratic future free of government oppression, terrorism, and violent extremism. Turkey, of course, is one of the leaders and has much at stake being a neighbor and a nation of conscience that understands the suffering of the Syrian people and serves as an example of an alternative to the brutal Assad regime.

We talked about so much else. We talked about Iran, where we continue to pursue a dual track that both applies sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons but also makes it clear that we are ready to sit down and discuss in a purposeful way, through diplomatic engagement, the nuclear program. I have said many times from this podium and elsewhere we recognize Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, but Iran also has international responsibilities that we expect it to live up to.

We also have discussed the very strong support that Turkey is providing for the new democracies. We discussed the full range of issues on a bilateral basis that we are continuing to make a priority between us. Turkey’s successful democracy is a real example. We are continually interested in the very important work being done by the Government of Turkey on religious freedom, the return of religious property, and of course, I expressed our interest in the Halki Seminary.

I think it’s important for us to be focused on what we can do to help the emerging democracies such as Tunisia, such as Egypt, such as Libya and others, and also to stay focused on the great needs of Syria. We’ve been able to speak for hours on these issues, as we always do when we meet, because we meet not only as colleagues but as friends. And I look forward to many more constructive conversations.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Thank you very much, Madam. It was great honor for me to be in Washington again. After Secretary Clinton’s recent visit to Istanbul in July, we agreed to meet at least twice a year in both capitals, but meanwhile we had several opportunities to meet at the margin of several international conferences. Sometimes every week we are meeting because there is a huge agenda, common agenda, in front of us, common challenges, opportunities, in our surrounding regions as well as in global scene.

Today Turkish-American relation is really a relationship of model partnership, as it has been described by President Obama. And we want to have this relation not only a security relation but also an economic relation and an economic model partnership, having huge common projects in investment and trade.

On – in NATO we are – we have several issues to be shared with the new Strategic Concept in NATO, and the approaching Chicago summit will be very important, and we’ve shared our common approach in NATO.

But of course, the main agenda was regional issues, as Secretary Clinton mentioned, and we have been talking very closely. Last week we were in Munich, in fact, together, and we went through all these files, because there is a historic turning point and transformation in the Middle East. And Turkey is in such a geography, now in the western part of Turkey there is an economic crisis, in the southern part of Turkey there is a huge political crisis. Turkey is an island of stability, economic growth, and prosperity, and we have special relations with United States and we want to have a positive contribution in resolving all these crises around us.

Now the hot issue is Syria. We discussed in details, because after the peaceful and sometimes challenging but at the end of the day successful transformations in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Morocco, Libya in North Africa, elections were held. I think it is the right of other people, like Syrian people, to have the same, the same rights, the same values, to be implemented in their countries. We support the transformations – political transformations in North Africa. We discussed in detail how to help Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan cases, where we work together shoulder to shoulder with the regional partners as well as global partners to make this a success, because the values of these people demanded were our values: rule of law, freedom, democracy, transparency, accountability. These are the values we are defending everywhere, in Turkey and outside.

Now Syrian people demand the same thing, not more. And it is the right of the Syrian people to have a new democratic political culture and atmosphere to get benefit out of this historic transformation. That was their demand. Last year there was no violence and Syrian people demanded these. But unfortunately, Syrian regime acted violently against these demonstrations, against these peaceful demonstrations, and today we have a real humanitarian tragedy in front of us.

As Turkey, we had a three-stage strategy in this crisis. First, bilateral engagement. From January until August last year, we did everything bilateral-wise to convince Syrian regime to accept the demands of the people. When it didn’t produce results, we worked at the second stage with Arab League as a regional initiative. And Arab League we appreciate. We admire all the efforts of Arab League. And here again I want to underline we support all the decisions of Arab League. Yesterday, I spoke with secretary general of Arab League, with presidents of Arab League, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim and Tunisian minister of foreign affairs, and we declared our support.

But despite of all these good intention and support of the Arab League, the UN Security Council, as you know, was not able to endorse the Arab League plan because of the vetoes. When there was such a deadlock in UN, of course, as international community, as regional partners, we could not wait and see, and every day artillery shelling is continuing and there’s a huge oppression in Homs, in many cities of Syria.

Therefore my visit to – although it was not planned for this purpose, it was a much more wide-range consultation, but it was very timely. We went through the situation in Syria. First, we agreed that there should be new humanitarian initiative to reach out to people who are suffering because of the shortage of food, medicine, everywhere in Syria. And therefore, I spoke with Secretary General of United Nations yesterday, and we started, as Turkey, an initiative in Human Rights Council in Geneva in United Nations, how to make this humanitarian access possible.

Secondly, of course the political dimension. We will be together in Tunisia, and the meeting in Tunisia will be an important international platform to show solidarity with the Syrian people, and to send a strong and clear message to the Syrian regime, that they cannot continue these violent policies. Of course, we will follow closely with the United States and other partners what – how things will evolve, but we will continue to defend Syrian people in this – in their struggle.

We discussed in details on Iran, Iranian issue, especially nuclear negotiations. I was in Tehran last month. The Iranians declared their willingness to restart the negotiations. We had a close contact with Cathy Ashton, and today we shared the best way is – to start these negotiations with a strong political will and good intention and with a result-oriented process, not just meeting and another meeting after one year, the same difficulties, the same procedures. They should meet and stay there until they resolve the issue. This – if there is such a concentrated negotiation, we hope that there might be – there will be a solution. There are other issues which we share – the developments in Balkans, Caucasia, Cyprus, many other issues. It shows how our – we have common agenda and interest together with the United States. And thank you very much for your great hospitality, Hillary. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.

MS. NULAND: We have time for four today. Two on the left side, two on the other side. We’ll start with (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, the Russians seems to imply that no international peace-keeping forces, or even Arab League forces, can go back to Syria without the consent of the Syrian Government. So in this regard, are you putting pressure on the Syrians – on the Russians to mediate, to change their position? And how else can you have a mechanism to allow you to realize this?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, you just talked about Iran. Regarding Iran, Turkey has mediated before. Are you willing now to mediate to bring the Iranian back to the negotiation table, since the Secretary talked about willingness to have the – both sides talking?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, we support the Arab League’s decisions coming out of the meeting in Cairo to try to end the violence and move toward a transition. And we look forward to working closely with them in the lead-up to the meeting in Tunisia. There are a lot of challenges to be discussed as to how to put into effect all of their recommendations. And certainly, the peacekeeping request is one that will take agreement and consensus. So we don’t know that it is going to be possible to persuade Syria. They’ve already, as of today, rejected that.

But I think this is what we’re trying to explore with the upcoming meeting in Tunisia, where we bring people together who are committed, as Turkey and the United States are, to seeing an end to the violence and a transition, and explore all of the ideas. Ultimately, it’s going to be important to convince the Assad regime that they are leading Syria into the outcome that we all deplore. We do not want to see a civil war in Syria. No one wants to see a civil war in Syria. So we have to encourage the Assad regime, and those who support it, to understand that there’s either a path toward peacemaking and democratic transition – which is what we are promoting – or there’s a path that leads toward chaos and violence, which we deplore.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Thank you about the nuclear issue. I think Turkey is one of the countries who are losing because of this tension of the main countries, and Turkey will be one of the winning side, if there is any resolution of this issues because we have two principles here. We are against any nuclear military capacity around us in the region, or we want to have nuclear disarmament throughout all – in the globe. And – but at the same time, we don’t want any limitation to the peaceful nuclear capacity or technology.

Based on these two values, there should be a negotiation. Iran must ensure that there will be no military dimension of their nuclear technology, but at the same time, the right of having peaceful nuclear technology should be given to all nations including Iran.

Based on these values, Turkey will be contributing to all process, not as a mediator or nor as a facilitator. The name – the position is not important. We will be doing everything possible to resolve this issue. Last year, we hosted the last meeting. If there is another – I mean – request from us, we will be willing to host. We will be willing to facilitate if neither is – we willing – we are willing to mediate or do anything which will contribute to the process.

MODERATOR: Next one, Ali Aslan from daily Zaman.

QUESTION: Thank you. Turkey is a leading Muslim majority nation which has historically been part of Europe. But unfortunately, Turkey’s full membership process with the European Union is not moving much forward nowadays. Madam Secretary, are you concerned about possible implications of EU’s unwelcoming attitude towards Turkey in larger Islamic world, especially given the U.S. emphasis on constructive engagement with Muslims all over the world?

And Mr. Minister, are you optimistic Turkey will eventually be a member of EU? And what can U.S. do to further facilitate this process? For example, would you like to see more efforts on the part of U.S. towards resolution of the Cyprus conflict?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, as you know, we have long supported Turkey’s full membership in the EU. We don’t have a vote, but we have certainly made our views known year after year because we think it’s in both Turkey’s interest and Europe’s interest for Turkey to be a full member of the European Union. And I am one who thinks eventually that will occur, that it is something that is very much in the interests of both economic and political integration. So I don’t want anyone to get discouraged, and I don’t want anyone to walk away from it – but like with any difficult negotiations, sometimes it needs to be put on the backburner for a while, and we have enough to keep us busy right now in the region.

And there is certainly a role for the United States to play because of our long association with, and alliance with Turkey that we value greatly. We’ve been partners and allies in NATO, where Turkey’s played a very constructive role from the beginning till the recent day. So we continue to believe that it’s in everyone’s interest for Turkey to become an EU member.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: This has been the question for many years. We have been repeating the same answer. Yes, we want to be member of EU, and in spite of all the discouragements coming from EU side, we are still optimistic that one day we will be member of EU, because our membership to EU will been an asset to EU and everybody will win. EU will be geopolitically more influential, economically more dynamic, culturally more inclusive. Turkey will be much more stronger, and Turkey and EU cooperation will be a great asset for U.S., for NATO, and for – will be great asset for the global community.

And of course, we are grateful to the United States because of the support given to this membership process, but of course, United States will not decide. If they have this chance to decide, I am sure until now, we would have been member of EU. But we still expect the same support. Every year, we are having transatlantic dinner hosted by Secretary Clinton, and she is facing problem always – first, EU meeting, then another meeting. Once – one day, we will be having just one meeting. We will be uniting.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I always host a dinner with everybody at the table. (Laughter.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s my eating diplomacy. I figure you eat together enough times, you work through all the problems.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: But this is her success, not insufficient success, because of her personal commitment. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Next one, Josh Rogan, Foreign Policy.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Mr. Foreign Minister, it’s been reported that you brought a list of contingency options for Syria with you in hand to discuss with Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta. I’m wondering, did that list include providing buffer zones or safe havens inside Syria? And would Turkey be willing to contribute troops to such a mission?

And for Secretary Clinton, you just mentioned that a peacekeeping force in Syria would require the consensus of the Syrian regime. In the event that the Syrian regime does not concede to having foreign troops on their soil, what types of other assistance are – can be provided without their consent? Medical assistance, humanitarian assistance, communications, intelligence, et cetera? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Of course, as decision makers, politicians, we have to think all the options and scenarios. Some scenarios could be not opted for, but unfortunately in Syria today, there is such a situation we are alarming and we are all worried about. But today, the agenda in our consultations and also in Tunisian meeting will be a political solution, diplomatic solution, and humanitarian access as early as possible. Even at this moment, should be possible.

About other contingency plan, we hope that we will not need – there will be no scenarios for these plans. But if one day something happens, of course our basic reference is, as a neighbor, is the humanitarian – to include humanitarian situation and to protect civilians because they are not, I mean, far away. There are millions of people living in Turkey being relative of Syrian people. We cannot be silent when these humanitarian tragedies continuing. At this moment, we are talking on diplomatic and humanitarian steps to be taken, but for other scenarios we hope that those things will not be needed. But we need to think about contingencies as well.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that the minister has summed it up well.

MS. NULAND: Last one. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has harshly criticized and warned Turkey, claiming the Turkish Government interferes with internal affairs with – of his country. Ankara also responded to Baghdad.

Madam Secretary, are you concerned about the state of Iraqi-Turkey relations and do you think Iraq would be better off if it distances itself from Turkey? And what would be the possible implications for the United States?

Mr. Minister, what is Turkey’s vision about the future of Iraq? Are you concerned about an intensified sectarian conflict which might lead to a possible partition? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are concerned about the political situation inside Iraq, because it’s important that the Iraqi Government be an inclusive one in which all Iraqis believe that they have a stake in the future of a united Iraq. And the foreign minister and I had a good discussion about Iraq and how we can work together to strengthen their democracy, help to settle political differences between various factions. We both have a very strong interest in a unified Iraq that is developing its democracy, providing services for its people, regardless of who they are or where they live.

So we were encouraged by the return of the Iraqiya bloc to the Council of Representatives. We are supporting President Talabani’s efforts to mediate among the different factions, to move toward a national conference that would focus on achieving a political solution that would represent the interests of all Iraqis in accordance with Iraqi law and the Iraqi constitution, because the Iraqi constitution calls for power sharing. It recognizes that there are different constituencies within Iraq, and we strongly support the efforts to try to reaffirm that commitment and then to build a stronger base for Iraqi governance and democracy going forward.

We encourage Turkey to continue to play an important role in trying to reach out to Baghdad, to many different personalities within the political system, and we’ve encouraged other nations in the region to do the same. We think Turkey’s played a very constructive role. But we share the concern about the need to demonstrate unequivocally a commitment to an inclusive Iraqi Government that represents all Iraqis.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: I think Iraq is the backbone of the stability in our region. If there is no stability in Iraq, there cannot be stability in our region. We have been always saying Iraq is like a small Middle East. We have all sectarian, ethnic communities, religious communities in the Middle East we have in Iraq.

And as Turkey, for us the stability of Iraq is so important. The welfare of all Iraqis, regardless of their ethnic or sectarian background, that is the only demand of Turkey. And when we see an Iraqi, we don’t look the identity. We see all Iraqis as our eternal neighbors, brothers and sisters. Their welfare is our welfare. If they have any problem, any pain, it is us, we feel the pain. Whenever there was any terrorist attack, Iraqi Government knows first we call them and we ask them with all the facilities we are at your disposal. That will – that has been our attitude. That will be the continuation of our policy.

But as Secretary Clinton referred, Iraqi constitution necessitates power sharing. In fact, Iraq is the place where the first Arab Spring, in the sense, in that sense, started when we look at the free and fair election first occurred in Iraq, and this parliament has been formed after a free and fair election. Therefore the success of Iraqi democracy now, the efficient work of Iraqi Government, is so important for all of us. Whenever we say something to Iraq, it is not for any intention of intervention, but it is an intention to help, that Turkey will be siding with Iraq for the success of the Iraqi democracy. And it is a test now for all Iraqis, for all neighbors. If there is a successful Iraqi democracy, that will be a good model for other countries as well.

How can we make such a success? It is – the only success is a common commitment of all groups, all parties, for the nation of unity, nation of sovereignty, integrity of Iraq, and working together, sharing power, and preparing Iraqi people for the future. Iraqi people suffered a lot in last three decades because of Iran-Iraqi war, because of Gulf War, et cetera. Now it is time for happiness, for prosperity in Iraq, and Turkey will be always contributing to the prosperity and happiness of Iraqi people.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.


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In her press briefing on Friday, Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland explained to the press corps that there would be no regular briefing tomorrow due to the very busy schedule.  There is a White House budget rollout at 12:30 and a similar State department event at 1:30.

Mme. Secretary will also be hosting Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu for lunch and a very important bilateral.  As you know,  our alliance with Turkey has enormous implications in the region, so there will be plenty for them to discuss, and as Victoria promised, plenty of news.

Just my two-cents on the budget part of this:  I hope Mme. Secretary gets every penny for which she asked.  The State Department budget is less than 1% of the national budget.  She has been “awarded” – (my tongue is deeply within my cheek) Iraqi operations heavily dependent on contractors because, guess what?  We pulled the troops out!  I recently saw an article saying we would be cutting personnel at Embassy Baghdad (the largest in the world) in half.  The last thing I want to see is some failure in Iraq based on an inadequately funded State Department budget blamed on the hardest working Secretary of State I have ever seen in my life.

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