The US capital has expressed confidence in Turkey's democracy, declining further comment on Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's re-nomination by the ruling party as its presidential candidate, almost four months after his first bid for the same post was blocked by pro-establishment forces in April following a statement by the military that warned it was ready to step in to protect the secular order.
"A matter for their internal domestic politics … at this point, the Turkish Parliament to decide upon who will be the next Turkish president. We have full faith in Turkey's secular democracy, but it's going to be a decision for them to take," Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday when asked to comment on Gül's candidacy.
Unlike this brief institutional comment, an explicit remark on the same issue came from a senior official at the State Department as Matt Bryza, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, was quoted Wednesday by Turkish daily Hürriyet as saying in English, "I love Abdullah Gül." Bryza's comment came in denial of remarks attributed to him in a Greek daily over the weekend.
"Tension will occur if Erdoğan nominates a controversial name; he will not cause tension if he nominates a conciliator nominee," Bryza was quoted as saying by Greek daily Ependitis. The newspaper published the remarks on the cover page with the caption "We say No to Gül for Presidency," while a headline declaring "Erdoğan should not nominate Gül" appeared on an inner page.
Speaking to Hürriyet, Bryza called the report "completely fabricated and insane."
"Who the Turkish president will be is not our business. I personally know Gül and respect him. I went to his house, I know his family and spouse. I like [them] so much. I love Abdullah Gül," Bryza was quoted by Hürriyet as saying.
As a political crisis played out in Turkey in the days following the release of the General Staff statement on April 27 -- dubbed an "e-memorandum" -- Washington kept a low profile, unlike the European Union, which was rather quick to warn the military to stay out of politics and to support the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Nevertheless, within a week after the release of the e-memo, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lent support to the reformist nature of the AK Party, saying that Turkey's elected government is pulling the country toward Europe.
"It's very important that we support their democratic processes," Rice said at the time, highlighting that whatever the ruling party's religious complexion, the AK Party-led government has started accession talks with the EU and passed a number of EU-inspired laws on religious and individual freedoms.
Her remarks had come after criticism of the US stance concerning the issue within the Turkish media and public alike, after Washington declined to comment on the presidential election in marked contrast to the EU.
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2007, 10:53