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Washington’s relationship with Ankara amid a ‘Turkish-American spring’

Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan has been Turkey’s ambassador to the US since 2010. Turkey — which borders Iran, Iraq, and Syria, among other countries — is a key US ally in the Muslim world. Ambassador Tan was the speaker at the Dec. 8 Monitor breakfast in Washington.

The state of US-Turkey relations:

“It is too early to call it an Arab Spring, but … we have now a Turkish-American Spring…. Our relationship is an excellent situation.”

What Turkey seeks from the US to deal with Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) terrorists:

US officials have indicated “willingness to help us because they have termed this PKK menace as … sort of a joint enemy of the United States and Turkey…. They [the Americans] know what we want and we expect them to deliver, and it includes … the [military] drone.”

Turkey’s role in dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s violent suppression of reform forces:

“It is not an easy challenge for us…. We, as Turkey, we do not want any sort of military involvement in any way … unless there is an international decision which comes out of the UN.”

How criticizing Mr. Assad might hurt Turkish business interests in Syria:

“We have businessmen everywhere in the region. But business never comes before the values.”

Assurances that Vice President Joe Biden offered about Iraq during his recent trip to Turkey:

“He assured us that Iraq will [retain] its relative stability intact, even after the United States leaves that country by the end of this year…. We do have concerns. We know it is not always possible to deal with the current situation through words.”

Turkish efforts to keep Iran from having nuclear weapons:

“Some other countries … have tried to transfer certain goods which would help … Iran’s program for a nuclear weapon, and we have stopped them.”

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