Posted on 14 February 2011
Obama visit to Turkey significant
The U.S. State Department said Monday that President Barack Obama’s planned visit to Turkey next month was significant, as “there’s a lot of business to do with Turkey.”
State Department spokesman Robert Wood spent part of his daily briefing defending Obama’s decision to visit Turkey in the face of a Greek reporters criticism along the lines of “why does he go to Turkey, but not to Greece?”
Over the weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Ankara Obama’s plan to visit Turkey “within a month or so.”
Obama is expected to arrive in Turkey around April 7, after a tour of several European nations to attend international meetings. He will take part in a G20 meeting in London, a NATO summit in Strasbourg, France, and a European Union summit in the Czech capital of Prague.
“Turkey’s an important ally and there’s a lot of business to do with Turkey. And we think it is significant that the president’s decided to go,” Wood said, when the Greek reporter asked why Obama decided to visit Turkey.
Asked again if Obama or Clinton had immediate plans to visit Greece, the spokesman responded negatively.
At this point the Greek reporter protested and said, “they are, of course, a NATO ally as well as Turkey.”
Wood agreed and said: “Greece is an important ally of the United States … Foreign Minister Bakoyannis was here last week to meet with the secretary. And we’ve got a lot of business as well to do with the Greek government.”
Hurriyet 11 March 2009 (Abridged)