WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed US solidarity with Turkey on the issue of PKK attacks during a meeting in New York as UN General Assembly attendees gathered there on Monday. At a backgrond briefing on the meeting, by two high-level State Department officials, one official said the US cooperates with Turkey extensively on counterterrorism "and specifically on the challenges of the PKK, and she underscored that the PKK is a terrorist threat not just to Turkey but to the United States as well." The two discussed a wide range of other regional issues, including developments in Israel, Syria, Egypt, and Libya, the officials said.
"They talked about the Turkey-Israel relationship, which is, as you know, something that we have been following very closely and encouraging the sides to repair their relationship," one official said.
Clinton "expressed regret that they were not able, in recent days and weeks, to overcome their differences, but she encouraged Turkey to keep the door open," he said.
The two sides have seen relations sour recently after Israel continued to refuse to apologize for Israel's deadly raid last year on a Turkish flotilla trying to deliver aid to Gaza.
"These are both two close friends and allies of the United States, and we want to see them repair their relationship, so she encouraged them to avoid any steps that would close that door; on the contrary, to actively seek ways that they can repair that important relationship with Israel," the official said.
They talked about Cyprus, and Clinton "reiterated our commitment to the Cyprus settlement, to the current UN talks - direct talks that are underway under UN auspices" regarding energy development and gas exploration, he said.
The US supports Cyprus's right to explore for energy, and does not believe that should undermine or interfere with the talks, he said.
The US agrees that the best way to sort out the question of energy and economic development is through a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, the official said.
They also talked about missile defense, he said. "The Secretary thanked the foreign minister for Turkey's good cooperation with the United States on the European missile defense issue and the areement, which was signed last week, to put radar in Turkey," he said.
"I think that is a strong sign of Turkey's continued commitment to European defense and to the NATO alliance." They also discussed the issue of the Palestinians seeking UN recognition of statehood, "and our common interest in seeing a success of the Arab Spring and what both countries can do together to help support those in Egypt and elsewhere in North Africa who are fighting for democracy," he said.
They discussed Syria and Libya, "and the Secretary expressed appreciation for the role that Turkey has played alongside the United States and others in the process there," he said.
They discussed Afghanistan, where the two NATO allies "are working closely together on the path forward," he said.
Clinton expressed the United States' continued interest in seeing normalization of the relationship between Turkey and Armenia, and they also talked about Somalia, he remarked. (KUNA)