Monday, July 21, 2014

US Spox responds Erdogan: Daily Press Briefing on Turkey

Marie Harf
Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 21, 2014

Spox is Responding to Erdogan's Remarks on Israel

QUESTION: On Friday we talked about – Jen was asked about comments made by the Turkish prime minister --
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- which were – she described as offensive.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: I’m wondering if --
MS. HARF: I would agree.
QUESTION: I’m wondering if Prime Minister Erdogan, from the Administration’s point of view, is just no longer a viable interlocutor as it relates to Israel or as it relates to larger things.
MS. HARF: Well, we certainly believe that comments like these undercut Turkey’s ability to effectively influence the situation. I completely agree with what Jen said about how offensive and awful these comments were, and that they quite frankly hurt Turkey’s international standing. We will continue working with Turkey on a number of issues, but comments like these really have no place in this discussion.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: But when you say that you’re – in response to Roz you say that you’re looking for everyone who has some influence with Hamas, and I think that --
MS. HARF: Well, they should certainly use it. You can use your influence --
QUESTION: Okay. So they haven’t --
MS. HARF: -- with Hamas without saying horribly offensive things.
QUESTION: I just want to – fair enough.
MS. HARF: Right.
QUESTION: I just wanted to make sure that you weren’t --
MS. HARF: Yeah.
QUESTION: -- saying that the Turks had forfeited their --
MS. HARF: No, not at all.
QUESTION: -- good position.
MS. HARF: Not at all. But --
QUESTION: Can I follow up?
MS. HARF: You can, yes.
QUESTION: Prime Minister Erdogan actually gave interview just yesterday responding to your Administration. He said that if America is still saying that Israel is using – it has right to self-defense, then it should be critical of itself; it’s America who is offensive.
MS. HARF: I don’t think I have any response to that. His comments were offensive in their own right, period, full stop. There’s no excuse for them.
QUESTION: I have --
MS. HARF: There’s no justification for them at all.
QUESTION: I have one more question. Prime minister again ask your Administration and it is that – what is it to you, America, what you got to do with Hitler when some Americans say – this is quote, still – some Americans say, why Mr. Prime Minister make such comparison with Hitler? What is it to you?
MS. HARF: Why do we care when foreign leaders make horribly anti-Israeli comments and offensive comments?
MS. HARF: I think it matters to everyone. I think that there’s no place in international dialogue for those kinds of comments, period. And that we stand up and are very clear in saying that when people do say those kind of things – and again, it only hurts Turkey’s standing in the world, only hurt’s their ability to influence events when they say things like that.

Turkey-US Relations

QUESTION: I have one more on Turkey.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: Actually, two. According to Israeli press, during the phone conversation between the Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary Kerry, Prime Minister Netanyahu complained about Turkish prime minister rhetoric over Gaza.
MS. HARF: I’m happy to check. I don’t know the answer to that for you, and I probably wouldn’t discuss it even if I did, given we don’t discuss private conversations. But I’m happy to check.
QUESTION: Do you still – this is my final question.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: Do you still think the U.S. and Turkey relations are a model partnership?
MS. HARF: You ask this once a week, and I think I always have the same answer for you. Turkey’s a NATO ally. They’re a close partner on a number of issues. We also make very clear when there are things we do not agree with.
QUESTION: So my question is --
MS. HARF: You said that with the last one.
QUESTION: But you didn’t answer. President Obama --
MS. HARF: I think I just answered it.
QUESTION: President Obama described this relationship as model partnership. My question is: Would you still describe the same partnership --
MS. HARF: Turkey is a very close NATO ally. We work together on a number of issues. When we have disagreements, we make those clear as well.

Turkish Diplomat Hostages - Mosul
QUESTION: Can I go back to Mosul for a second?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Is there any update about the hostages, Turkish diplomats?
MS. HARF: I have no update on that.
QUESTION: So no update means that you are talking to Turkish authorities, but --
MS. HARF: So no update on that. I don’t have any information on that for you at the moment.

New Iraqi President, Speaker

QUESTION: And on Iraq, I think they are now trying to elect new president.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you have any --
MS. HARF: So we did congratulate the Iraqis on the election of their parliamentary speaker and deputies. We know that the new speaker has scheduled the next session for this Wednesday to discuss nominees for the presidency. The next step is to nominate and vote on a president, and then of course a prime minister after that, which we’ve said should happen as soon as possible. Once a president is elected, they have up to 15 days to nominate a prime minister. So obviously, we think this should happen as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Do you have any candidate to endorse in --
MS. HARF: I have repeatedly said we do not support any one candidate or any one party. We need an inclusive government as soon as possible.

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