US Vice-President Joe Biden said that he had "no doubts on Turkey's course" in his comments Tuesday on the Gezi Park protests which started in reaction to a construction project in Taksim's Gezi Park in Istanbul and quickly spiraled into nation-wide demonstrations against the government.
Speaking at the 32nd conference of Turkish-American Council, Turkey' American Friends, Turkish-American Business Council and Foreign Economic Relations Board, with the participation of Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister for economy Ali Babacan, Biden said the Gezi Park events caused world-wide worries including the US.
Biden said the US defends freedom of gathering, freedom and independence of press, and non-violence by the state and the protesters in such conditions.
"Only Turks can solve their own problems. The US cannot seem indifferent to the outcome because we believe that only countries that have an open society, political systems and economy and those who are strongly committed to universal human rights will thrive and become most powerful nations in the world," he said.
Biden said the US was ready to help Turkey to secure a safer, more prosperous and a more democratic future, adding, Turkey was "a rising power promised hope for everyone."
"Today's Turkey has the chance to show that it does not need to make a choice between economic prosperity and democracy, between a system authorizing the election-winners and a system protecting the opposition," he said.
Biden stated the reason behind Turkey's economic success in the last 10 years was that the country had yielded the benefits of moving towards being a more politically open nation, pointing out that Turkey had become the 17th largest economy of the world, its inflation decreased to 6 per cent, and in May 2013, it paid off its debt to International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Reminding that Turkey and the US established the Economic and Commercial Strategic Cooperation mechanism in 2009 which carried the bilateral trade volume to $20 billion, increasing it by 75 percent, Biden expressed that Turkey had $1 billion investment in the US, while US investments in Turkey amounted some $5 billion.
Saying that those figures were insufficient, Biden listed technology, pharmaceutical industry, energy sectors as potential areas of cooperation between the two nations.
Regarding the free trade agreement negotiations between the US and the European Union (EU), Biden said, "When the time is ripe, we will be able to carry our trade relations with Turkey to the next stage."
Emphasizing the defense cooperation between Turkey and the US as two NATO allies, Biden said, "As the world changed, so did the scope of our cooperation."