Think-tank head Podesta: "Alliance with Turkey is essential for the US"
The United States is committed to strengthening and expanding relations in all fields with Turkey, said John Podesta, head of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, yesterday. Speaking at a meeting hosted by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), Podesta said Turkey is a strategic US ally in providing peace and stability in the region, adding that the US welcomes Turkey's increasing role in the international arena. Strengthening bilateral economic and commercial ties would lay a good long-tem foundation, he said, adding, "This is where business communities such as TUSKON have a key role to play." The Obama administration is also committed to cooperating with Turkey in solving both global and regional challenges, he said. Turkey's cooperation in the implementation of sanctions against Iran is crucial, he stated, adding, "Turkey can try to persuade the Iranian government to pursue peaceful nuclear activities." Praising Turkey's diplomatic successes in promoting peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East, Podesta said this could also be the done with Iran. The Obama administration is re-engaging in relations with countries all over the world to make up for the damaged ties of the Bush years and re-form traditional alliances with countries such as Turkey, he said.