Richard Nixon photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Erim of Turkey.

March 22, 1972

PRESIDENT Nixon and Prime Minister Erim during their meeting on March 21, 1972, discussed the full range of Turkish-American bilateral relations as well as major international issues. The President stressed the importance that the United States attached to its relations with Turkey and to Turkey's role as an important NATO ally. In discussing the close and harmonious security relationship between the two countries, the President expressed the strong continuing support of the United States for the security, territorial integrity and independence of Turkey. Both leaders agreed to the principle of noninterference directly or indirectly in Turkey's internal affairs. Both leaders also agreed that continued close cooperation between their two nations is essential and that NATO is vital to their security as well as to the security of the other members of the Atlantic alliance.

The President and the Prime Minister also discussed the modernization of Turkey's armed forces. The Prime Minister explained the plans recently developed in the High Military Council of Turkey for the reorganization of the Turkish Armed Forces, for the strengthening of Turkey's defenses, and for the strengthening of the security of the southeastern flank of NATO. The President expressed the support of the United States for Turkey's efforts to modernize her armed forces, and said the United States would continue to assist the Turkish defense effort.

There was an exchange of views on the worldwide problem of drug abuse. The Prime Minister said the Turkish Government was proud to contribute to a humanitarian endeavor by its decision to stop opium poppy cultivation. He indicated that plans and programs had been devised to prevent loss of income to Turkish farmers, for which international participation was essential. The President expressed the appreciation of the American people for Turkey's courageous and humanitarian decision to ban opium production. He also indicated his special interest in efforts to improve the livelihood of Turkish farmers. The President said the United States attaches importance to bilateral and multilateral efforts to assist Turkish development in this field.

In addition, one of the main subjects dealt with by the President and the Prime Minister was the economic development of Turkey and the social advances made in that country. The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for past development aid and said Turkey would continue to pursue modernization within a democratic system. Both leaders agreed that the Consortium for Aid to Turkey has provided an efficient multilateral mechanism to this end. Both agreed that this and other endeavors in multilateral institutions should continue and be further enhanced. The President also said the U.S. would continue its financial support of Turkey in its efforts to reach its declared goal of vigorous, self-sustaining economic growth.

The President described his China trip and discussed his upcoming trip to the Soviet Union. The Prime Minister indicated that Turkey has followed with admiration the efforts of the President to strengthen the peace of the world. He emphasized his belief that the visits of President Nixon to Peking and Moscow will have a special bearing on the promotion of world peace. The Prime Minister said that Turkey, on her side, encourages and supports efforts for peace in her region and is constantly improving her good relations with her neighbors.

President Nixon and Prime Minister Erim agreed that it is important' that there be a just settlement of the Cyprus problem which would contribute to the well-being of the concerned parties and to peace in the Eastern Mediterranean. Proceeding from the binding effects of existing treaties and recognizing the beneficial peacekeeping role of the United Nations, it was agreed that such a settlement can best be reached through negotiation by the concerned parties.

Note: See also Items 95 and 98.

Richard Nixon, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Erim of Turkey. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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