News / Europe

Syria Dominates Talks During Kerry's Turkey Visit

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, enters a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey, on March 1, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, enters a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey, on March 1, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, enters a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey, on March 1, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, enters a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey, on March 1, 2013.
Dorian Jones

The new U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry held talks with his Turkish counterpart Friday during a two-day visit to Turkey. The talks were dominated by the conflict in Syria.
 

With Turkey sharing a 900-kilometer border with Syria and sheltering nearly 200,000 refugees from Syria, Kerry's trip underlines the importance of the NATO ally to Washington.


Secretary Kerry, speaking at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, praised the Turkish government's humanitarian effort and re-iterated his condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.


"Minister Davutoglu and I and our international allies agree there is no legitimacy with a regime that commits atrocities against its own people," Kerry said.


Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has joined the U.S. in supporting the oppostion to Assad, and has given shelter to Syrian rebels and to nearly 200,000 refugees along its volatile border.


But Turkey and the US differ on how to support Syria's opposition.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a more robust stance by the international community over Syria, including the creation of safe havens and arming the opposition forces. The U.S. and other Western nations have mostly focused on humanitarian aid.


Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based research institute Edam, says the offer this week by Washington of non-lethal aid to Syria does not go far enough.


"It will certainly be perceived as a step in the right direction, but ultimately not fulfilling Ankara's aim of convincing the U.S. to provide stronger military aid including lethal weapons. But at least it is a step in the right direction. Ankara will continue to nurture hopes that it will eventually shift its stance on aid of lethal weapons as well," Ulgen said.


During the Ankara press conference, Kerry raised concern over arming rebels, arguing it is difficult to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of militants who could use them on Western targets.


Political columnist Kadri Gursel of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet says Ankara believes the concerns are exaggerated and that groups such as Al Nusra Front, which was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, are playing a positive role in fighting the regime.


"I think the Al Nusra front will never be labeled as terrorists by Turkey. In the Syrian context, the Al Nusra Front -- if not publicly stated -- is not an illegitimate partner, because they are struggling against an illegitimate dictatorship and foreign fighters are welcomed in this struggle against the Syrian regime," Gursel said.


The visit was somewhat overshadowed by the Turkish prime minister's remarks about Zionism. Erdogan earlier this week called Zionism a "crime against humanity" - remarks that have been widely condemned both internationally and by Secretary Kerry:


"We found it objectionable. But that said, Turkey and Israel are both vital allies of the United States and we want see them work together in order to go beyond the rhetoric and change this relationship," Kerry said.


Ties between Israel and mostly Muslim Turkey have been frosty since 2010, when Israeli marines killed nine Turks in fighting aboard a Palestinian aid ship that tried to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Secretary Kerry is pressing for a rapprochement. But for now, observers warn there appears to be little chance of an improvement in relations.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs