Turkey, US ‘allies but further Transatlantic talks are futile’

Turkey, US ‘allies but further Transatlantic talks are futile’

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey, US ‘allies but further Transatlantic talks are futile’

Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybecki (2nd R) and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (2nd L) pose before a meeting in Ankara. AA photo

Despite the good business and trade relations between Turkey and the United States, it is not the right time to begin talks about including Turkey in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) process with Europe, according to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

“Let me be clear about the TTIP. Turkey and the U.S. are great allies and nothing is going to change that. And we have a mechanism called the High Level Committee which we use to keep Turkey abreast of the TTIP conversations, but engaging further with TTIP at this time before the necessary economic reforms are taken doesn’t make sense either for Turkey or the U.S.,” she said during an interview with a group of journalists in Ankara on Oct. 2.

The visiting official, who was accompanied by a strong trade group of 14 companies, was responding to a question on Turkey’s possible participation in the TTIP.

‘Turkey has done many things’

“Turkey has done so many things to make it an attractive place to invest, but there stilll obstacles that need to be addressed and we are working with the federal government to talks about the various reforms that need to be taken;” she also said.

Meanwhile, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci protested that “the United States and Turkey could never be economic partners,” vowing to respond to U.S. duties imposed on Turkish products with tit-for-tat measures. “The U.S. has become a strategic, deep and high-level partner [and] NATO ally with us, but when it comes to economic partnership it has always been with [the] other,” the minister said on Oct. 2, ahead of his meeting with Pritzker.

Speaking to reporters during a ceremony marking the signing of the EU policy harmonization protocol with the Turkish EU Ministry, Zeybekci said his top priority during talks with Pritzker would be the free trade pact to be signed between the EU and U.S., and for the latter to take the necessary steps toward reaching economic partnership with Turkey.

Minister warns US

“We believe deep partnerships should be realized on the grounds of economic interests. In this way, deep partnerships would be dependent on a much stronger ground,” he said. “We attach great importance to our relationships with the U.S. Therefore, we want to proceed toward economic partnership.”

Reciprocity in practice is one of the vital needs for establishing a strong partnership, according to the minister, who vehemently vowed to retaliate for recent anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. on Turkish products.

The U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this month confirmed anti-subsidy duties of up to 1.25 percent on Turkish steel rebar imports and approved anti-dumping duties on Turkish steel pipes for the energy sector.

“There are developments bothering Turkey in anti-dumping investigation. We have warned them about these,” Zeybekci said.  “If they put one unit barrier on the Turkish economy, exporters and products, we will obstruct them with three units,” he assured