Obama: US- Turkish ties 'more important than ever'

In interview to Turkish newspaper, Obama discusses Turkey-Israel ties and differences over Iran; stressing that "our partnership is resilient."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 19, 2010 17:09
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama speaks at the University

obama pointing 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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US President Barack Obama said that "given the increasingly complex challenges the world faces, I believe that US-Turkish cooperation is more important now than ever," in a written response Sunday to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

In his written remarks Obama addressed among other issues, Ankara's ties with Israel, differences over Iran policy, and Turkey's bid for European Union membership; stressing above all that "our partnership is resilient."

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"As with our other close allies and friends, we will sometimes disagree, as was the case on the vote on Iran sanctions in the UN Security Council.

"Notwithstanding our differences about tactics, I firmly believe Turkey shares the goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran," he said.

Obama said the West was not convinced of Iran's claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes saying, "Iran has an opportunity to do that in the P5+1 talks in Turkey in January.

"There are ways we can move forward, but all parties must be prepared to take constructive approaches," he said.

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On the issue of Turkey-Israel relations Obama urged Ankara to mend its ties with Israel saying, "Turkey and Israel are both key allies of the United States... I encourage both nations to do everything they can to repair their relations."

He also praised Ankara's assistance in dispatching two airplanes to help fight the deadly Carmel fire in Israel which he said helped improve ties between the two countries.

Obama said that while, "in some circles in the Middle East, Turkey's foreign policy has shifted from that of the Western axis," the US still viewed Turkey as a "close ally and strategic partner."

He reiterated US support for Turkey's EU membership bid saying it would be beneficial to both sides considering the "centuries-long shared history, culture and trade, between Turkey and Europe."

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