Friday, October 14, 2011

My Qs and As w/State Dpt. Spox Nuland, October 14, 2011, Press Briefing

Turkey-Iran, Special diplomatic team in Ankara

MS. NULAND: Yeah.  Please, Johann. [ilhan]
QUESTION:  Secretary Clinton, I believe, had a phone conversation yesterday with Foreign Minister Davutoglu.  Was Iran one of topics or did your government ask anything special from Turkey in terms of new sanctions on Iran? 
MS. NULAND:  The Secretary and Foreign Minister Davutoglu spoke this morning, in fact, very early before her speech.  And the conversation was only on Iran, and it was her opportunity to brief the foreign minister on the situation, and I think you know that the Turkish side requested a briefing team, so I believe our briefing team was sitting in the foreign minister’s office when she made the phone call, so she was able to say hello to Ambassador Benjamin as well.  So -- 

QUESTION:  So the briefing team already went to Turkey and -- 
MS. NULAND:  That’s my understanding, that they were actually there when she called Foreign Minister Davutoglu.

QUESTION:  Is there any way you can share with us what’s the Turkish reaction so far?  
MS. NULAND:  I think that would be a question for the Turkish side, Johann. [ilhan]

QUESTION:  Does that team then go to Moscow, or is it a totally separate -- 
MS. NULAND:  I think there are different teams, but I’m, frankly, not sure who’s going where. 


Egypt Coptic Clashes, SCAF

MS. NULAND:  Okay.  Johann. [ilhan]
QUESTION:  Actually, related to last subject, Egyptian army also recently was accused in – on night of October, actually, with the Coptic Christians.  At the time, you said you’ll look into it and wait for the result of the investigation.  What’s your current view after five days?  Do you have any kind of understanding whether the army did use force against this (inaudible) group?
MS. NULAND:  I spoke to this extensively on Tuesday.  The Secretary spoke to Foreign Minister Amr later in the day Tuesday.  We expect that the Egyptian Government will do a full and thorough investigation.  My understanding is that investigation is still ongoing and that it will take steps to remedy whatever it finds went wrong with security procedures as a result of that investigation.  

QUESTION:  In general terms, actually – this question from one of the activists from Egypt came today – in general terms, can you in any way explain how do you see the general condition of civil liberties, particularly free speech and torture cases, in post-revolution Egypt?
MS. NULAND:  I think you know that in our dialogue with the Egyptian Government, in our dialogue with Egyptian civil society, human rights has been fundamental to the conversation and to our expectations and aspirations for the democratic future that Egypt has to have.  Obviously, the events over the weekend were not in keeping with the high standards that everybody wants and everybody excepts, including in Egypt and the international community, and that’s why we have to have a full investigation and lessons have to be learned and remedial steps have to be taken


Turkey-EU Progress Report

QUESTION:  A quick one on Turkey:  European Commission just released its progress report on Turkey and it criticizes Turkey in terms of human rights and Cyprus issue, but also gives some better points as well.  Have you had a chance to look at the report, whether Turkey and EU relations – how do you see the progress so far going on?
MS. NULAND:  Well, you know that the United States has long supported Turkey’s aspirations to join the European Union.  Turkey is – we have encouraged Turkey to pursue the political and economic reforms that are necessary for EU accession.  And we think that the accession process itself strengthens Turkey, strengthens the European Union.  I’m not prepared to parse the EU’s report, if that’s what you’re asking for.  But we would like to see the – Turkey be a member of the EU.

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