On June 7, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, to co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial and consult with senior Turkish officials on a range of foreign policy challenges, including Syria and Iran.
During her remarks at the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial, Secretary Clinton said, "The Global Counterterrorism Forum emphasizes strengthening civilian institutions as a critical part of our strategy. And we're already taking important steps to put this into practice, building new partnerships with the United Nations and other multilateral bodies, and knitting together far-flung counterterrorism efforts that need better focus and organization."
Secretary Clinton continued, “The work we need to do, whether on stopping kidnapping for ransom, countering violent extremism, or strengthening rule of law, require focus and tenacity. Now those of us around the table are here for a few hours, but the experts who are working with us work day in and day out. And it is a true honor to have this venue for policymakers and practitioners, because after all, we're here because we face implacable foes who are determined to kill civilians, disrupt societies, and spread their ideology of hate. And we cannot afford to work at cross-purposes or to pursue policies that obstruct cooperation or fuel radicalization. All of us share a commitment to take on this challenge, and the United States is very proud to continue working with you to further our common efforts."
While in Turkey, Secretary Clinton also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. After their meeting, Secretary Clinton said, "…[T]he foreign minister and I and also the Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and I had an opportunity to review the range of issues our countries are confronting together, including strengthening the economic partnership and cooperation on the transitions in the Middle East and North Africa. And I want to underscore -- it probably goes without saying, I said it this morning, I think I've said it on every trip to Turkey -- the United States stands strongly with Turkey in your fight against the PKK whose long campaign of violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives."
Secretary Clinton also commented on the ad hoc meeting on Syria. She said, "[T]he ad hoc meeting on Syria intended to intensify our efforts to support the Syrian people, given the urgency of the situation. The regime-sponsored violence that we witnessed again in Hama yesterday is simply unconscionable. Assad has doubled down on his brutality and duplicity, and Syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable, or certainly democratic until Assad goes. So even as we intensify the sanctions pressure...the time has come for the international community to unite around a plan for post-Assad Syria. And last night we discussed a number of the steps that we intend to take together."
Secretary Clinton's stop in Turkey marked the end of her eight-day trip to seven countries in Europe and Eurasia. You can read more about the Secretary's travel on www.state.gov.