Erdogan announced he won't attend nuclear security summit in US next month
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday left for London to attend a meeting of the Turkey-British Business Forum at the invitation of his British counterpart Gordon Brown. He is being accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan, and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis. Speaking to reporters before leaving, Erdogan said his visit was aimed at improving ties with Britain in various areas, particularly bilateral trade and cooperation in international platforms. Underlining that Britain has given the greatest support to Turkey's EU accession bid, Erdogan said that Turkey's close cooperation with Britain will continue. During his visit, Erdogan is also scheduled to meet with Brown to discuss ways of further improving bilateral ties as well as the European Union, the Cyprus issue, and recent developments in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan. The ongoing comprehensive talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders has entered a critical period, Erdogan stressed, urging the Greek Cypriot administration to positively respond to the constructive steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side. Erdogan also said Turkey will continue its support for the guidelines accepted by the two sides for a just and lasting solution to the issue. Asked whether he would attend a nuclear security summit in Washington next month at the invitation of US President Barack Obama, Erdogan said that he would not, adding that they would later decide who would represent Turkey at the event. Observers interpreted his turning down the invitation as part of Turkey's protest of a US House committee passing a resolution on the so-called Armenian "genocide" claims. Immediately after passage of the resolution earlier this month, Turkey recalled its Washington ambassador to Ankara for consultations, where he remains. Speaking to reporters, Cicek said Turkey has showed a proper response to passage of the resolution. Implying that Turkey's response could continue for some time, Cicek said, "Our reaction is not an instantaneous one. I hope those this is intended for will thoroughly understand and evaluate the meaning of this response."