US says Turkey’s patience wearing thin on Syria

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and US President Barack Obama

June 22, 2011, Wednesday/ 23:56:00

The United States has said it shares Turkey's concerns over the need for reform in Syria and that Turkey’s patience appears to be wearing thin.

US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told a press briefing on Tuesday that the US believes the time for action is well overdue and that action is needed now with respect to Syria.

“We share the concerns of the Turkish government. I think you see that their concern is mounting, particularly as they've had to handle all of these refugees and have done so with such a big -- a big heart. But clearly, Turkish patience appears to be wearing thin, and we share all of their humanitarian and political concerns," Nuland said.

Responding to a question over a Turkish military build-up on the Syrian border, Nuland said the Turkish army was assisting in support for the refugees and the building of the camps and the providing of services and making sure that that border was open and nonviolent.

"In general, we have been very impressed and gratified by Turkish willingness to take these refugees in, their preparedness for it. We have said that we are open to assisting the government of Turkey through the the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as necessary. But as you know, like many governments, the Turks use their military for logistics and for security in refugee situations," she said.

On another question on limited media access to the refugee camps, Nuland said the whole world had seen the pictures of the very pristine camps that Turkey has set up as well as the interviews with Syrians who had fled their homes.

"So from that perspective, and the fact that Angelina Jolie got in and really spread the word as a UN ambassador I think speaks volumes about Turkish willingness to open their country and to do all they can for these Syrian refugees," Nuland added.

Over a recent telephone conversation between Turkish Prime Minsiter Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Barack Obama on the Middle East peace process, Nuland said the US talked to Turkey about the Middle East peace as part of regular bilateral exchange between the two countries.

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