Hillary Clinton praises Turkey's economic growth, says the country can be the engine of the region
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised performance the Turkish economy had made, saying 11 percent growth rate was impressive, AA reported.
"The 11 percent growth rate is phenomenal, one of the highest in the world ... And what I hope is that Turkey will become an engine for economic growth in the region," Clinton told a televised coffee house event in Istanbul.
On a question about criticisms that Turkey's foreign policy orientations shifted, Clinton said there was no reason for the country to shift from west to east.
"Turkey is so strategically located between east and west. As an outsider, I have always thought the debate is a debate without real meaning to it because why would you give up one for another? You can look both ways and to me that is an incredible advantage," she said.
Clinton said Turkey is a regional and a global player, adding that the country had made a strong commitment to engage in not only regional problems but also global issues.
Clinton said Turkey's economic success and its political change might be an inspiration for many countries, adding that regional countries could ask for support from Turkey.
On a question over Iran's suspected nuclear program, Clinton said Turkey and the U.S. shared a very similar strategic assessment about "what we hope to see happening regionally and globally. We do not always agree on tactics" over Iran's nuclear program.
"We did have our differences over the vote in the United Nations but our shared view is that we want to do everything we can together to convince and prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons, which would be very destabilizing for the region... I think in the last two and a half years we weathered our differences" she said.
Over a question on the freedom of expression and press in Turkey, Clinton said "I do not think it is necessary or in Turkey's interests to be cracking down on journalists," adding that Turkey's institutions could withstand the scrutiny and debate that a free press brings.
"It seems to me inconsistent with all the other advances Turkey has made," she said.