After meeting with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said the United States “will continue to support very strongly Turkey’s prospects for accession, full accession, to the European Union.” Mr. Burns said he and Mr. Erdogan also discussed security concerns, including terrorism by the Kurdistan Worker Party, or P.K.K.:
“The P.K.K. is a vicious terrorist organization, it deserves universal condemnation. It will have no support from the United States, on the contrary.”
Mr. Burns said the U.S. wants to work with Iraq and Turkey “to see that. . . .these horrible actions of the P.K.K., are brought to an end.”
About Iran’s nuclear program, Mr. Burns said the best course is “to work with Turkey and many other. . . .European countries, with Russia and China, to convince Iran that diplomacy and negotiations are the way forward and the responsibility lies with Iran to choose negotiations.”
The U.S. and Turkey share a common interest in energy. Turkey is the gateway for exports of oil and natural gas from the Caspian region and Iraq to Europe. In the 1990s, the U.S. cooperated with Turkey to develop the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the South Caucasus gas pipeline.
Building on that success, the U.S. now seeks to expand this critical energy infrastructure to help Greece, Italy, and Western Europe create a free market for energy supplies in Europe. “These efforts,” said Mr. Burns, “can also help Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan bolster their own independence by providing them access to European energy markets.”
In a speech earlier this month, Under Secretary of State Burns said, “We look to Turkey, with its one-hundred-sixty-year legacy of modernizing reform, as the most successful example in the world today of a secular democracy within a Muslim society that can inspire reformers in the greater Middle East and beyond.” He said this year’s elections “demonstrated the strong health of Turkey’s democracy, the most impressive in the Muslim world.”
History, shared interests, and common values, said U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, “makes Turkey one of the important allies of the United States anywhere in the world.”