Erdogan: Our aim is to accelerate Syrian process

Turkish PM and Obama hold a joint press conference after meeting at White House, presented a joint front against Syria' al-Assad

Erdogan: Our aim is to accelerate Syrian process

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "Ending this bloody process in Syria and meeting the legitimate demands of the people by establishing a new government are two areas where we are in full agreement with the United States" on Thursday.      

Erdogan and US President Barack Obama who had come together in the meetings between Turkish and US delegations held a joint press conference in the Rose Garden.      

Erdogan and Obama stated Syria had been top on the agenda of the meetings.      

"Supporting the opposition and Assad leaving are important issues. We also agree that we have to prevent Syria from becoming an area for terrorist organizations. We also agree that chemical weapons should not be used, and all minorities and their rights should be secured. These are all priority areas for all of us. And we discussed what needs to be done on these issues with the president, and this evening we will continue to talk about these in greater detail" said Erdogan.      

Erdogan said upon a question about the chemical weapons claimed to be used in Syria that:      

"Chemical weapons and missiles, rockets, all that have been fired -- all that information is shared between the relevant bodies within our administrations, and it's not just Turkey and the United States. For example, the United Kingdom and all others have that -- document that information, because we share information, and the U.N. Security Council -- all the other relevant authorities will also receive that information in the proper time so that more information is provided to the public. So we will continue to work in this way."         

Erdogan stated that Turkey would like to "see the sensitivity on the part of the international community" for the ongoing Syria crisis.      

"We as Turkey are striving for, and I do believe that the United States is doing the same. And other countries, the United Nations Security Council, the Arab League -- and other countries, though not part of these structures, are still sensitive to what is going on in Syria" said Erdogan and added:      

"Our aim is to accelerate this process. And I will be visiting other countries, my foreign minister will be visiting other countries, just to see how we can speed things up in a way which will prevent the deaths of more people and in a way which will ensure a transition to a democratic system in Syria. Our goal is to see the tyranny, the dictatorship go away in Syria and to be replaced with democracy. And I think this is a collective responsibility on the part of all countries that believe in democracy. And this is what we will all continue to do."           

"We display a very strong cooperation"

Erdogan said both Turkey and USA displayed a strong cooperation and added:     

"Turkey and the United States have many issues that covers the Middle East to the Balkans to Central Asia to other areas, including in issues such as energy security of supply and many other issues. And in all these areas and on all these issues, we display a very strong cooperation. And in our meetings with President Obama today, we talked about relations between Turkey and the United States and also about some topical issues which remain on both of our agendas. We had an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues, and our exchange of views and opinions will continue throughout the day with other meetings that will take place during the rest of the day. Turkey and the United States, we are both determined to continue to fight jointly against terrorism."           

Gaza visit          

Erdogan said his scheduled Gaza visit would be in June and stated "I will not visit only Gaza. I will also go to the West Bank."      

"I place a lot of significance on this visit in terms of peace in the Middle East. And I -- this visit in no way means favoring one or the other. I'm hoping that that visit will contribute to unity in Palestine, first of all. This is something that I focus on very much. And I hope that my visit can contribute to that process" said Erdogan.           

Erdogan also said he was here with close to a hundred businessman and they were holding meetings with their counterparts in the US.      

"They will continue to talk and meet with their counterparts this afternoon as well. Bilateral economic relations between Turkey and the United States have to be included, and we both have this aim. Ten years ago our trade stood at $8 billion. At the moment trade stands at $20 billion. But this amount is still not sufficient. We have to increase the amount of trade between our two countries" said Erdogan.      

Erdogan said bilateral economic and trade relations between Turkey and the United States would continue to develop and added:      

"We carry forward with these efforts, we need to strengthen this relationship with free trade agreements and other agreements. And I can tell you that as leaders of our nations, we have the will to continue to develop our economic relations."

"Perpetual peace in the Middle East"

Erdogan said, "Turkey's close interest in Syria has the objective of establishing peace in the region as a whole. In this region, the issue of Syria, the issue of Palestine and Israel are the problems that need to be resolved in order to have perpetual peace in the Middle East."      

Erdogan noted, "The relations between Turkey and the United States are often known as the history of political history. However, in the close relations between the people of both nations, there are ancient symbols and exchange between the people. Just one mile from this beautiful building, at the George Washington memorial, there is a relief that is carved on the wall that bears the signature of Sultan Abdul Hamid -- Abdulmecid. Sultan Abdulmecid at that time did not refuse the request coming from the United States to send a memory to celebrate the independence of the United States. There are certain words carved in the marble block. Sultan Abdulmecid I has approved that his name would be carved on the stone in order to -- in order to celebrate the -- reinforce the friendship between the two nations. This memory, which comes from 170 years back, reminds us the roots of the friendship between the two nations."                

Erdogan explained the influence of the Korea War to their friendship and said, "If you walk a little further down George Washington memorial, you are going to come across the Korean War Memorial. The names of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Korean wars 60 years ago and our soldiers who fought side by side 60 years ago, they are there to mark their common endeavor. If you walk further down, when you come to the U.S. Congress, you are -- you are encountering the relief of Suleiman the lawmaker.      

This portrait, which is on the walls of the -- of the House of Representatives, is actually showing the friendship between the two nations -- among -- together with the other 22 nations that helped the establishment of the United States. The principles of rule of law and pluralist democracy are tying us together from across thousands of miles."      

Erdogan noted that everybody should know that the objective of the old partnership and friendship between Turkey and the United States is targeted toward -- towards solving global problems and added, "Turkey is a country that presents its historical, cultural experience as well as its experience in statehood and civilization, and is a country that is also willing to contribute more."           

The principles of the Turkish foreign policy          

Prime Minister Erdogan reminded that Turkey has been built on the experience of multicultural empires of the Seljuk State and the Ottoman Empire and said,"Predecessors of the Republic of Turkey, the Seljuk State and the Ottoman Empire, have ruled many territories stretching from Asia to Europe and Africa and has built an important civilization. There is no doubt Turkey's accumulation and heritage is going to contribute to the solution of global problems. Today the objective is to establish peace, tolerance, prosperity and stability in the region and in the world at large. The objective is to establish peace and democracy without -- with respect to sovereignty rights, with sovereignty of the state, without interfering into the -- into domestic affairs."      

Erdogan referred to the crisis in Syria and said, "Of course, we are going to resolve this drama that is being lived in the region together, hand-in-hand. And there is a historical duty on the shoulders of the U.N. Security Council in this respect" and underlined the principles of the Turkish foreign policy as, "peace, justice and having a conscious point of view. Just as we were hurt with the attacks in the -- during Boston marathon, just as we were hurt during the bullets fired at women at Mother's Day, we are also feeling the sorrow of what is being lived there in Syria."      

Erdogan highlighted the role of business people from Turkey and the United States, "They have been working so far this morning and they will continue to work again this afternoon. And they are going to take even further the volume of trade between the two countries, behind $20 billion, which is the present state. And this should be an important step to be able to further this volume of business. Of course, this figure is -- it's -- is insignificant. It is -- it is not easy -- it is not -- the $20 billion between Turkey and the United States is a very low figure. And the balance is to our disadvantage. We have to bring balance to the trade. And this is what we have discussed. On these issues we are going to conduct high-level contacts between the two countries through our Ministry of Economy, through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs."      

The Turkish Prime Minister also reminded that he was very happy by the visit of Vice President Biden at his home when he was sick.

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