Envoy: Differences of opinion with US ‘transient’

July 26, 2010, Monday/ 16:55:00
According to Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, Namık Tan, the merging of the unique characteristics of the two NATO allies makes the relationship between them “invaluable” and the current differences of opinion between Ankara and Washington on particular issues are “transient,” not permanent.

“The United States is a global actor, drawing her strength not only from her military might, but even more from her economic and scientific supremacy and core values like democracy, human rights, the rule of law and an inclusive pluralistic society based on entrepreneurship. To sustain this standing, the United States needs to put more emphasis on her soft power and alliances with regional powers. Turkey, on the other hand, has a unique standing drawing strength from her location and history.

Spanning Asia and Europe, she neighbors Africa through the eastern Mediterranean. Her rich history makes Turkey an actor which shares a common heritage and cultural links with many different regions, countries and peoples. The merging of the unique characteristics of both actors makes this relationship invaluable,” Tan said last Thursday as he was hosted at a leading think tank based in Washington for a discussion on Turkish-US relations.

In his speech titled “Turkish-US Relations in a Changing World,” the transcript of which is available on the website of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which hosted the discussion, Tan underlined the importance of and elaborated on the term “model partnership,” which was used first by US President Barack Obama when describing Turkish-American relations during his first official visit to Turkey in April 2009.

“The term ‘model partnership’ emphasizes the importance of close cooperation between Turkey and the United States based on common values and principles,” Tan said.

“After the Turkish ‘no vote’ on sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council, and op-eds arguing that there was a ‘shift of axis’ in Turkish foreign policy, the idea of a model partnership may sound naïve to some. On the contrary, these differences of opinion are only transient and they do not cast a shadow over the fundamentals of our alliance. [The] Turkish-American relationship has withstood the test of time. We have diversified and enriched its strategic texture. Methodological differences on certain issues do not trump our shared principles. Time and again, our dedication to uphold democracy, strengthen human rights and ensure unhindered access to free markets have solidified the strategic nature of this relationship,” Tan argued.

Last month the Obama administration’s top diplomat on European affairs warned that Turkey was alienating its US supporters and needed to demonstrate its commitment to its partnership with the West.

Ankara at the time described those remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Phillip Gordon as “unfair and unfortunate,” stressing that Turkey doesn’t need to prove its loyalty to the Western world.

Diplomacy
Other Titles