WASHINGTON (Hurriyet)–A Top U.S. official has reaffirmed the “close relationship” between Turkey and the United States in response to results from a global survey indicating most desire partnership with the Middle East than the West, the Anatolian News Agency reported.
According to Philip Gordon, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, there is no other country in Europe with which the United States has as much open, ongoing dialogue as it does with Turkey.
Speaking at the German Marshall Fund on Wednesday, Gordon said Turkey and the United States had many common interests and policies although they had some differences of opinion on some issues.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States conducted the survey that included Turks’ views on the Middle East. According to the internationally conducted survey released on Wednesday, 20 percent of Turkish participants supported closer ties with the Middle Easter.
Gordon said Turkey had been interested in the Middle East for a long time, but had always stood close to the United States and the West. He said that Turkey is also still interested in the European Union accession process, adding that the EU should take some steps to get Ankara’s focus back on the process.
Turkey’s EU accession depends on both Turkey and the European Union, he added, noting that the United States continues to support Turkey.
Gordon said the EU would become stronger with inclusion of a Turkey that had fulfilled EU membership criteria. The United States’ dialogue with the Turkish government was not in line with the view that Turkey has become distant from the West, he said.
The U.S. official said all remarks from Turkey indicated that it was still seeing itself as a distinguished member of NATO, that it is eager for EU membership and that it places importance on cooperation with the United States.
Gordon also said the United States was trying to establish a model partnership with Turkey and attached importance to its relations with the country and the views of the Turkish people. He defined U.S. relations with Turkey as important and strategic and said the relationship is a fruitful one for both countries.
Gordon said Turkey and the United States had similar thinking on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but differences of opinion on whether or not the Islamic republic had fulfilled required criteria regarding this matter. The assistant secretary said the two countries were behaving sincerely toward each other regarding the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program.
The U.S. official said Ankara and Washington also exhibited sincerity in dealing with their differences of opinion regarding Hamas and the Israeli attack on the part of a flotilla of aid ships to the Gaza Strip.
Turkey’s relations with Armenia are another point of diverging perspectives, the assistant secretary said, adding that the United States was supporting the normalization process between the two countries.
Gordon said normalization would be beneficial to both countries and to the region, an idea ostensibly supported by the Turkish government. The assistant secretary said he did not agree with claims that Turkey has turned its back to the West.