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Turkey's Foreign Minister Welcomes WikiLeaks Challenge

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made repeated references to WikiLeaks during his speech at the Brookings Institution, 29 Nov 2010

As U.S. leaders and government officials criticize the unauthorized disclosure of hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic documents on the Internet, Turkey's foreign minister, who is visiting Washington, said Monday that his country would welcome the challenge posed by a similar posting of official diplomatic documents.

Referencing the massive release of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country would have no problem if its own diplomatic communications were disclosed publicly.

"If all the official cables and other documents are being disclosed, we will be very happy," said Ahmet Davutoglu. "Really. Turkey will be very happy because we follow a foreign policy of principles. We do not use dual language. We do not say something in Tehran and something different in Washington and something different in New York or in another place."

Davutoglu discussed the leaked documents with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here in Washington. After their meeting, Clinton said WikiLeaks had acted illegally, and called the release of classified cables an attack on U.S. foreign policy interests and the international community.

New York Republican Representative Peter King, the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, has called for WikiLeaks to be designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The website previously leaked documents related to U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Programmers and supporters of the website called the leaks an extreme form of computer generated journalism.

In one of the leaked cables, Turkey's foreign minister is portrayed as having little understanding of politics beyond his country. During a speech at the Brookings Institution on Monday, Ahmet Davutoglu said he would be ready if Turkey faced a similar situation.

"Open all of the archives," he said. "Our foreign policy is sincere, principle oriented, honest and candid."

Most of Davutoglu's speech focused on Turkey's efforts to reduce tensions with its neighbors. But he made repeated references to WikiLeaks and more open diplomacy.

When asked about Turkey's falling rankings by human rights groups regarding freedom of the press, Davutoglu said it was important to improve media ethics while broadening freedom of speech.