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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