The next topic is Turkey, where recent foreign policy developments, above all the UN vote against sanctions for Iran and the cooling of relations with Israel, have caused concern in the United States and Europe. There has even been talk of “losing Turkey”. Do you, Mr President, think that the refusal or reluctance of the European Union to give Ankara full membership of its institutions has had an impact? What could the United States and Europe do to recommit Turkey to a more pro-Western stance? Obama starts with a broad view, saying that Turkey is a “county of enormous strategic importance that has always been a crossroads of East and West. Turkey is a NATO ally and its economy is booming. The fact that it is both a democracy and a country with a Muslim majority makes it a critically important model for other Muslim countries in the region. For these reasons, we believe it is important to cultivate strong relations with Ankara. And it is also why, even though we are not members of the EU, we have always expressed the opinion that it would be wise to accept Turkey into the Union. I realise that this raises strong feelings in Europe, nor do I think that Europe’s slow pace or reluctance is the only or the principal factor behind some of the changes we have observed recently in Turkey’s orientation. In my view, what we are seeing is democratic confrontation inside Turkey. But it is inevitably destined to impact on the way Turkish people see Europe. If they do not feel part of the European family, then obviously they’re going to look elsewhere for alliances and affiliations. Some of the things we have seen, such as the attempt to mediate an agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, have been unfortunate. I believe they were motivated by the fact that Turkey has a long border with Iran and does not want any conflicts in the area. Muscle-flexing may also have come into it, as it does with Brazil, which sees itself as an emerging power. What we can do with Ankara is to continue to engage, and to point out the benefits of integration with the West while respecting, not acting out of fear of, Turkey’s specific nature as a great Muslim democracy. It is potentially very good for us if they embody a kind of Islam that respects universal rights and the secularity of the state, and can have a positive influence on the Muslim world”.