Remarks With Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ankara, Turkey
September 12, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege to have my dear friend and colleague in Ankara. This is third meeting, it’s going to the third meeting of us after Wales and Jeddah. And we have spoken on the phone several times again. And you know the issues that you can imagine on what issues we are going to focus during the meetings, particularly what’s going on in the Middle East and particularly in the Syria and Iraq and challenges and the threats. And since we got this chance, of course we would like to discuss some other issues besides the bilateral one – Middle East – I mean, the peace process over there, cease-fire, and maybe Armenia, Cyprus, definitely Ukraine.

Once again, I would like to welcome my dear friend. I’m looking forward to having (inaudible) to discuss all these issues. John, would you like to say something, both in English and Turkish, please? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. It’s a great privilege for me to be back in Ankara. I’m happy to be here in Turkey, and happy to be here with Mevlut. He and I have gotten to know each other quickly. We’ve had very in-depth conversations about all of the subjects on which Turkey and the United States are deeply involved. And we are important partners, obviously, in NATO, but not just in NATO. We have concerns with respect to what’s happening from Libya to Mali to the Horn of Africa and throughout the Middle East, and of course, now the events in Iraq. So we have a great deal to talk about.

Over the last year and a half I grew to have one of my closest relationships in foreign policy with Ahmet Davutoglu, now prime minister. And we worked extremely closely, talking frequently. So far in my relationship with Minister Cavusoglu, we are already engaging in that kind of discussion. We met in Wales, we talked about the urgency of dealing with ISIL and the urgency of dealing with the support for the Government of Iraq. And of course, together we will be chairing a counterterrorism forum and the United Nations General Assembly in a few days.

So we have a very full agenda and I look forward to constructive conversations both with him, with the new prime minister, and with the new president and my old friend, President Erdogan. Thank you all very much.