Erdogan: "The alliance of civilizations proves our common values are stronger than our differences"
Speaking at a UN meeting on religious tolerance held as part of a Saudi initiative to boost interfaith dialogue, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human trafficking and organized crime are global issues which threaten us all. Stressing that there is no difference between so-called "good terrorists" and bad ones, Erdogan said that no matter its origin, reason or aim, terrorism is a crime against humanity. Touching on the Alliance of Civilizations initiative launched by Turkey and Spain, Erdogan told the New York meeting, "Turkey places great importance on this initiative. It is evidence that fundamental values uniting us such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law are stronger than our cultural differences." He added, "Today more than ever we need international cooperation and solidarity against global threats and risks, yet we have failed to come up with the common political will to address them." The alliance initiative is part of efforts to tackle these threats and risks, he said. The premier said future steps in response to the need to respect differences would have a decisive effect on the state of international relations. After the meeting, Erdogan had a brief conversation with US President George W. Bush, who is set to leave office in January. He thanked Erdogan for accepting his invitation to attend tomorrow's G-20 meeting in Washington on the global economic crisis. Also speaking at a meeting in Columbia University yesterday, Erdogan said Turkey expects the new US administration to consider Turkey's sensibilities on issues carrying vital importance for it. Preserving and strengthening the strategic partnership between Turkey and the US is not only important for the interests of the two countries but also for global peace, Erdogan said. He said Turkey was determined to continue multifaceted and close cooperation with the coming US administration led by Barack Obama.