U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley is meeting Thursday with
Turkish officials to reportedly discuss the standoff over Iran's
disputed nuclear program. Hadley's visit to Turkey comes two days
before talks in Geneva in which a senior U.S. diplomat will for the
first time join colleagues from other world powers at a meeting with
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. For VOA, Dorian Jones reports from
U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley is
holding talks Thursday with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime
Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on so-called
routine consultations on regional issues. But, they reportedly are also
discussing Iran's nuclear program.
Stressing the relationship
between the United States and Turkey, Hadley said the two countries are
united in fighting terrorism, including against Kurdish rebels who
stage attacks on Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.
United States appreciates very much its strong strategic partnership
with its close friend and strong ally Turkey, as we deal with the
challenges of the 21st century," he said.
Though Hadley did not
comment on any discussion over Iran's nuclear program, Foreign Minister
Ali Babacan said at a news conference that the issue of Iran did come
up and that it would be "handled through dialogue."
In an interview Wednesday, Babacan spoke about Turkey's role in the diffusing tensions over Iran's nuclear program.
have good relations with both Iran and the U.S.," he said. "We respect
Iran's right to civil nuclear power, but we also share regional
concerns about the situation. We are in touch with all parties
involved. They tell us that we should also be in the picture."
said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki would visit Ankara for
talks Friday and the nuclear program would be on their agenda.
U.S. Diplomat William Burns will attend talks with Iranian envoy Saeed
Jalili in Switzerland on Saturday aimed at persuading Iran to halt
activities that could lead to the development of atomic weapons.
Turkey believes Iran has the right to develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, but calls on Tehran to be transparent.
United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike on Iran
if it does not give up uranium enrichment and heed Security Council
demands aimed at dispelling fears that Tehran wants to make nuclear
weapons. Iran claims its nuclear program is only aimed at generating
International relations expert Soli Ozel says Turkey has a vested interest in resolving the current tensions.
is very concerned about Iran going nuclear , but Ankara is also very
concerned about Iran being attacked by the U.S. I guess you would agree
we could ill afford to have another war in our neighborhood," he said.
Minister Erdogan said last week that Ankara might be asked to play a
role in the Iran nuclear row similar to the role it is playing in
Syria-Israel peace efforts. Ankara is currently mediating indirect
talks between Tel Aviv and Damascus.
Ankara is also reported to
have played an important role in defusing recent tensions in Lebanon
over the election of its president.
The current Islamic rooted
AK party -- unlike many of its predecessors -- has made it a priority
to improve relations with Middle Eastern countries. According to
experts, that policy is making Ankara an increasingly important
diplomatic player in the volatile Middle East.