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Strong democracy will help Turkey economy: Clinton

01 november 2011, 16:00
0
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ©AFP
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ©AFP
Turkey's economic development and its role as a regional power will be reinforced by a strengthening of its democracy and peace with its neighbors, AFP reports, citing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday.

"Turkey’s ability to realize its full potential depends upon its resolve to strengthen democracy at home and promote peace in the neighborhood," Clinton said in a speech at the American-Turkish Council.

"Turkey’s economic leadership could be a powerful force for progress across the region," she said.

"A vibrant economy depends upon the free exchange of ideas, the free flow of information, and the rule of law. Strengthening due process and cracking down on corruption helps any country grow more rapidly. So would protecting a free and independent media."

The Turkish economy, the 17th largest in the world, staged a spectacular recovery from the global crisis, growing 8.9 percent in 2010.

But unemployment remains a major challenge for the government in a country where many young people swell the workforce each year, and a declining farming sector drives unqualified laborers to urban areas.

"The process of perfecting a democracy is never complete. It requires, as we know from our own experience, unrelenting effort, and vigilance to prevent backsliding," said the US secretary of state.

"Reducing tensions with neighbors and increasing stability in the neighborhood is a recipe for expanded growth and influence. Turkey’s leaders understand this," she said.

"But it will take bold choices and strong political will to leave the past behind and embrace the future Turkey deserves."

Clinton made the address shortly before calling off late Monday a trip to London and Istanbul to be with her ailing mother, the State Department announced.

"Due to illness with her mother, Secretary Clinton has canceled her scheduled travel tonight to London and Istanbul, and will instead remain in Washington," a department spokesman said in a statement.

No details were given on the health of the top US diplomat's mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, who is 92. Rodham reportedly has lived in Clinton's Washington home since 2006.

Rodham, a Chicago-born homemaker, is known as being media-shy but in December 2007 she made a rare public appearance in Iowa to campaign for her daughter's presidential nomination bid.

Clinton changed her travel plans shortly before she was to have left the US capital for Afghanistan to urge its neighbors to avoid meddling there and instead build economic ties with the war-torn state.

Shortly after visiting Afghanistan and three neighboring states, Clinton was to have held talks Wednesday in Istanbul with a broader group about how to boost peace and prosperity after US combat troops withdraw in 2014 and hand over to Afghan forces.

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