US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Turkey to use its newfound economic power to promote democracy in the region and repair its relationship with its neighbors, including Israel. Yesterday, Clinton addressed the American-Turkish Council in Washington.
Clinton welcomed Turkey’s “growing role in the region and on the world stage” and voiced American support for Turkey joining the European Union. But, “To succeed, the Arab political awakening must also be an economic awakening,” Clinton added.
“Turkey’s ability to realize its full potential depends upon its resolve to strengthen democracy at home and promote peace in the neighborhood.”
Turkey needs to pursue “ongoing constitutional reform” and greater “human rights for all Turkish citizens, including the right to speak and worship freely.” Another way for Ankara to prove its intentions would be to repair relations with Israel. “We continue to urge both countries to look for opportunities to get this important relationship back on track,” Clinton said.
The council consists of a group of business leaders dedicated to promoting US-Turkish cooperation in commerce, defense, technology and culture. To boost new democracy’s access to US, European and Turkish markets, Clinton asked Turkey to “open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a free, open and integrated trade and investment area.”