US envoy pledges full support in efforts to solve Kurdish problem
US Ambassador to Ankara Francis Ricciardone is seen at a local market in Diyarbakır. ‘I believe Turks care very much about having a world standard economy and democracy,’ he says. DHA photoUnited States Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said Turkey could "count on" the United States to stand by its side throughout the peace process.
Ricciardone said the U.S., as a friendly and allied country that wishes for Turkey success, supported efforts to solve the three-decade-long conflict known as the Kurdish issue.
“You can count on the United States to be with Turkey, to stand with the Turkish government, the people as you deal with this very complicated and difficult process,” the U.S. Ambassador told Turkish broadcaster CNN Türk in a live interview in Diyarbakır. “We are very confident in you and in your success.”
Ricciardone has been on a visit to the southeastern part of Turkey since June 23. He visited Van, Batman, Diyarbakır and his next stop is Gaziantep.
The ambassador said during his trip he had encountered people who had a great desire for peace and great hope that the peace process would work out. He said this process would take wisdom, patience and courage from all sides.
Upon a question about whether the U.S. President Barack Obama had delivered a message during the phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ricciardone said the context was of frequent content and that the U.S. not only wished luck but also stood by Turkey while it worked through its problems.
The U.S. ambassador said he believed the southeastern part of Turkey had a “fabulous potential” with peace and stability being the missing ingredient. “With peace – the hope of peace alone – these past few months have already brought more tourists and more business people. Yesterday in Cizre, TÜSİAD [Turkish Industry and Business Association] came and met with local business people and that’s just based on the hope of peace,” said Ricciardone expressing that Turkey, the U.S., Turkey’s allies and also its neighbors would benefit more from peace and stability in the region. “Imagine if peace takes root what will happen.”
Regarding the Gezi Park protests, the U.S. ambassador told CNN Türk that in a healthy democracy people should have ways of expressing different feelings, ideas, view points and support for social causes. He referred to allowing people the ability to communicate with each other, the public and the world as a challenge for any democracy.
Ricciardone said it was important that all points of view be expressed freely for any democracy to function. “The free exchange of ideas is the lifeblood of any democracy. It’s the lifeblood of any free economy, and I believe Turks care very much about having a world standard economy and democracy.” He added that people should assemble and meet each other in freedom and security.
He called the Turkish youth “unstoppable” regarding their use of social media and their connection to international media. “You’re one of those connected young demographics of the world,” he said.