Turkey’s foreign minister hailed US-Turkish relations on Tuesday amid tumult in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
“Turkish-American strategic relations are more indispensible today than ever,” Mevlut Cavusotlu told reporters during a press conference with his U.S. counterpart before a bilateral meeting at the State Department.
“We are at a critical time for our region,” he said. “Turkey and the United States are the two countries with important comparative advantages. This is what makes our partnership unique and valuable. In the past we have proved that by working together on any common vision, our two countries can overcome any challenges.”
Among the issues that the top diplomats will address during Tuesday’s meeting are ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Daesh, and the conflicts in Ukraine and Cyprus.
“I want to emphasize this afternoon the importance of the ties between the United States and Turkey, particularly the security relationship at this particular moment,” Secretary of State John Kerry said, noting Ankara’s role in Afghanistan, patrols in the Black Sea and contributions in Iraq.
He hailed Turkey’s hosting of roughly two million refugees of the Syrian conflict, saying that doing so is “creating a huge economic burden, and a social burden.”
As the allies continue to work together to end the transit of foreign fighters seeking to join Daesh and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, Cavusoglu said that cooperation between Washington and Ankara is “excellent.”
Regarding the Cyprus issue, Cavusoglu said, “we want to reach a lasting solution in Cyprus in this year.”
“Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have the political will for a solution, and we are waiting at the negotiating table,” said Cavusoglu. “Here the United States’ active role is very important,” he added.