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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

U.S., Turkey Agree NATO Needs New Capabilities

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Ambassador Ugur Ziyal
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ankara, Turkey
April 16, 2002

Ambassador Ugur Ziyal: As you all know, this morning we had discussions on NATO issues with our dear friend Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman, who knows Turkey very well. These discussions are important because they take place prior to the Prague Summit and the Foreign Ministers' meeting in Reykjavik. We discussed three main issues. One of them is developing NATO's capabilities to fight against the new threats that appeared after September 11. We discussed NATO's expansion and strengthening NATO's relations with the Russian Federation and with the other countries under the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace. In general, the U.S. and Turkey share the opinion that NATO will be one of the main pillars of joint security and stability in the century ahead. Now, I would like to give the floor to you, Mr. Under Secretary.

Under Secretary Marc Grossman: First of all, I want to thank our Turkish hosts for the hospitality that they have shown us this morning. Mr. Under Secretary, we thank you very much. I also want to say, as you all can imagine, what a pleasure it is for me to be back in Turkey, as it always is.

I have come here today to continue the very close consultation we have with our Turkish allies on all subjects. Our President has been in touch with the Turkish President. The Vice President of the United States was here not a few weeks ago. Foreign Minister Cem and our Secretary of State are in contact constantly as well. And I have the honor to be part of that effort at consultations. As the Under Secretary said, what I came to do today was to discuss with our Turkish allies what we can expect to achieve at the NATO summit meeting in Prague this November. Some people might think that it is too early to start on such a consultation, but Turkey and the United States believe that the closer we can work together, the better off we are going to be. I proposed to the Under Secretary -- and he and his colleagues were nice enough to give us some comments -- three propositions for Prague in 2002. First, that we work very hard to create new capabilities in the NATO alliance to meet the threats of counter-terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Second, that we have a robust round of enlargement so that Europe's new democracies can also be part of NATO if they are ready. Third, that we work on new relationships with Russia, Central Asia and the Ukraine. I also took the opportunity to thank the Under Secretary for Turkey's unfailing support in the global war on terrorism and to assure him that the NATO alliance remains an absolute bedrock of our foreign policy. So I thank you very much for taking the time to listen to me. Between the two of us, we'd be glad to answer some questions.

QUESTION: (in Turkish): Did you discuss ESDP [the European Union's European Security and Defense Policy]?

Ambassador Ziyal: (in Turkish): No. There was nothing to discuss about it. That subject is closed.

QUESTION: Well, apparently you haven't talked about the ESDP. But can I also ask whether your government is behind the so-called Ankara agreement on ESDP?

Under Secretary Grossman: As you all know, we worked very hard on that agreement, trying to support Turkey and the European Union. We hope that Turkey and the European Union will come to agreement quickly on this because we believe that increases in European capabilities and the headline goal are right, and that Turkey should be part of this in a way that is acceptable to Turkey and to the European Union.

QUESTION: Do you believe that an ad-hoc agreement should be made before this agreement is accepted in order to provide for the European Union to take over the job of NATO in Macedonia?

Under Secretary Grossman: I'm not sure these things are related. We are in the position, of course, not being members of the European Union but supporters of strong European defense and ESDI [NATO's European Security and Defense Initiative] and ESDP, and of course allies of Turkey and NATO. Our position is that we hope that the European Union and Turkey can work this out.

QUESTION: Have you discussed any other issue apart from NATO?

Under Secretary Marc Grossman: No, we did not. The under secretary and I, he for his reasons and me for mine, have limited time. I came here, said we wanted to talk about Prague 2002, and that's what we did.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate on your propositions as to how NATO can meet the challenges of terrorism?

Under Secretary Grossman: We think that NATO needs new capabilities to meet the new threats that are threatening NATO countries today. If you look at terrorism and if you look at what has been done in Afghanistan, what does it lead you to conclude? It leads you to conclude that we need to be better able to get forces to the fight. Once they're in the fight, we need to be able to sustain them. They need to be able to communicate with one another. They need to have the right kind of munitions. These are all things I think that Turkey and the United States very much agree on. There are also issues of weapons of mass destruction. Turkey and the United States have been in the forefront of consideration on missile defenses. The Alliance has also talked about new work in the areas of biological and chemical weapons defense. These are the new threats. I think the under secretary and I agree that these are the kinds of things that the Alliance ought to be talking about now, between now and Prague, and in Prague.

QUESTION (in Turkish): Sir, could you kindly explain Turkey's opinion to us on this subject. Also, Turkey wants Bulgaria and Romania to get priority on this issue [expansion]. Could we say that we have the United States' support on this subject?

Ambassador Ziyal: (in Turkish): On the first subject, we agree with our ally the United States that new capabilities are needed to fight against terrorism and to establish and keep the peace in countries like Afghanistan. The same applies for weapons of mass destruction. Our region is rather fertile on this issue. We share the same worries. And we agree on that the protection should be built under a joint defense umbrella. Turkey wants the widest possible [NATO] expansion. The U.S. shares our opinion. However, Marc Grossman had a very interesting comment on this issue: 'We are not inviting our friends to become members of a social club but allies in a military alliance.' Of course, it is necessary to base this on the conditions for being an ally and on NATO principles. Naturally Turkey wants this powerful organization, which maintains stability and security in Europe, to expand to its borders.

QUESTION (in Turkish): Sir, I would like to ask something. Under the heading of weapons of mass destruction, is there a need to establish an international parallel to the (missile defense) technology that America has already embarked upon? Is there a possibility of including NATO in it?

Ambassador Ziyal: (in Turkish): I am not an expert on this subject so I cannot give an answer. But we think that the NATO umbrella is necessary on this issue and that it is impossible for each country to work alone on this issue, and to do so would waste resources. Do you want to respond to that, if there's anything to do with this space defense initiative?

QUESTION: I was wondering whether you have taken up that issue as well?

Under Secretary Grossman: No.

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