World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc came together with US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.
The meeting, in which Arinc and Biden took up Turkey-US relations and regional issues, lasted for an hour and 15 minutes and was held closed to press.
Arinc on a televised interview he gave to Turkish state broadcaster TRT in Washington, said they took up the issue that the US could not fully meet Turkey’s expectations on the Syria issue and added the Vice President will make a statement on this, without elaborating on the issue.
“We also told him (Biden) that we had deep sorrow over what has happened in Syria and we want this civil war to end in the shortest time possible” Deputy Prime Minister Arinc said.
Arinc also stated that Turkey and the USA were in agreement that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s political power was weakened and he must leave the administration.
Arinc also told Biden Turkey expects the USA to be more diligent in the preparation of Geneva II conference and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapon inventory, which Biden agreed on.
“We told (Biden) that various ethnic and religious groups in Syria should continue living together, as they have done until today […] and there should be such a constitution and a parliament so that everybody could express themselves and a government that could hold all together should prevail”, Arinc added.
Iraq and Cyprus issues were also taken up during the Arinc-Biden meeting.
Biden stated that they find relations between Turkey and the administration in Northern Iraq positive, Arinc also told the TRT television.
Arinc also said that Biden told him they have full confidence in Turkey’s government and he told Biden that the relations between the two countries should increase as there is greater potential in trade.
ARINC HAILS TURKISH DEMOCRACY
Meanwhile Arinc hailed Turkish democracy Friday while speaking in Washington, saying that Turkey has learned many lessons from the Gezi Park riots in the summer.
Commenting on the incidents, he said, “That was a sad incident. But now everything is calm, and now such incidents will not happen, because everyone has accepted that violence is actually hurting the society,” said Arinc of the Gezi Park protests while speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank.
He added, “Of course we have drawn many lessons from Gezi Park protests. Some people are still suffering from what had happened.”
The Deputy Prime Minister further stated that peaceful demonstrations are allowed throughout Turkey, saying, “People can applaud you, or people can protest you. And we are ready for this. And we are ready to accept all this.”
Freedom of the press “very important”
Arinc emphasized the importance of a free press in Turkey, while addressing criticisms of Turkey’s media record.
“When a journalist is executing his or her profession they should be under threat. They shouldn’t be imprisoned. They shouldn’t be even subject to criminal investigation. When they’re doing their profession they have to be as free as possible. I believe this,” he said.
He added, “If someone is just executing journalism, we would never say anything. But if they are doing propaganda for terrorist organizations, if they are helping directly or indirectly to the terrorist organizations, of course we take these people to the court, and if it is proven, then they are penalized or imprisoned.”
Regarding criticisms from international groups about Turkey’s press environment, he said, “We always take in to account such criticisms. And, of course, we pay attention to these reports.”
Row with Erdogan over
Regarding a pubic disagreement with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over mixed-gender student housing, Arinc said that he and Erdogan have privately made amends.
“Of course that recent incident was, as the spokesperson of the government, I said something. And the Prime Minister had said something else. This created an unpleasant situation. And I asked for an explanation from him, because it is my personal right, because I have a personality. I have a reputation in the nation. He has all those, more than me maybe, but I look at myself… When I say something, people should think that it is correct, it’s true,” he said.Last Mod: 23 Kasım 2013, 11:09