Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17, 2011, My Qs and As with the State Dpt. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland

QUESTION:  Is there any way you can characterize the relationship between Turkey and Israel going forward?  The Palmer report, UN report will be released next week.  What’s your expectation now?

MS. NULAND:  I’m not going to predict the future; simply to say that we are encouraged that Turkey and Israel continue to talk to each other.  We think that’s important.  We think an improved relationship between them would not only benefit both of them, but would also benefit the region and would benefit the United States.

QUESTION:  Going back to your announcement – PKK attacks – there are major signs that the Turkish military is about to undertake some major operation against the PKK.  Are you worried or what’s your view on this?

MS. NULAND:  I’m not going to get into hypothetical operations one way or the other.  As you know, we stand with Turkey in its fight against the PKK and we have very close counterterrorism cooperation.

QUESTION:  A couple minutes ago, you described Turkish-U.S. cooperation as excellent in terms of – on Syria.  Looking back a few months now, how much do you think these excellent relations effective in terms of stopping Asad killing his own people, and how much hope you should have going forward?

MS. NULAND:  I think that the Turkish concern, the Turkish frustration, is the same as the American concern and the American frustration, that this is a guy, as the noose gets tighter, as more and more countries condemn him, isn’t stopping, and more and more Syrians are dying.  So I think from that perspective, we’re both frustrated and we’re both looking at ways that we can tighten the noose.

QUESTION:  Have you ever discussed buffer zone with Turkish Government?

MS. NULAND:  I think we had this conversation yesterday.  We had it last week.  Our focus with the Turkish Government has been on tightening the political and economic noose.  Thanks.

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