“On June 7, the secretary will co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial in İstanbul, Turkey, and consult with senior Turkish officials on a range of foreign policy challenges, including Syria and Iran,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement on Friday.
The United States has praised Turkey’s stance on Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has confronted a 14-month uprising against his rule. Ankara has insistently called for Assad’s withdrawal and hosts Syrian opposition groups.
As regards Iran, Turkey says Tehran has the right to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and promotes a negotiated settlement to an international dispute over its nuclear program, a stance that has drawn criticism from Washington in the past.
Clinton’s visit to Turkey is part of a tour from May 31-June 7 that will take her to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan as well. Nuland said Clinton will discuss “important issues of regional security, democracy, economic development and counterterrorism” during her visit to the Caucasus countries on June 4-7. Clinton will meet Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan and Armenian civil society leaders on June 4; inaugurate a US-Georgia strategic partnership commission plenary session and meet with President Saakashvili in Georgia; and travel to Azerbaijan on June 6 to meet with President Ilham Aliyev and civil society leaders, according to Nuland.
UN’s Ban to visit İstanbul
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also expected to visit Turkey later this month to attend international gatherings on Somalia and the UN-backed Alliance of Civilizations initiative.
Ban will co-chair the first Partners’ Forum for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations on May 31-June 1 and will also attend an international conference on Somalia scheduled to take place on the same dates.
The partners’ forum will bring together governments, intergovernmental organizations as well as businesses, foundations and individuals “who have shown a strong commitment to realizing the vision of a world free from intercultural conflicts and divides, where cultural diversity is an asset and not a liability,” according to a UN statement on the event.
Participants are expected to pledge financial support or to otherwise make a commitment to action, the UN said.