Turkish Prime Minister &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/11/04/39106.html ' target=_blank>Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to leave Monday for the United States for talks with President Bush. The meeting that is set to take place Wednesday in Washington is seen by some officials as a fence-mending mission.
The meeting between the Turkish leader and President Bush will last an hour and focus on developments in Iraq, Cyprus and Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.
Turkish officials say the talks are being held at Mr. Erdogan's request and will serve as an opportunity for the Turkish leader to restate his government's commitment to ties with the United States.
Relations between the two NATO allies have remained rocky ever since the Turkish parliament dominated by Mr. Erdogan's Islam-rooted &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2003/01/09/41788.html ' target=_blank>Justice and Development Party, voted against a motion two years ago that would have enabled thousands of U.S. troops to use Turkey to open a second front against the toppled Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, tells VOA News.
US President George W. Bush on Wednesday stressed the importance of strategic relations between Washington and Ankara during his meeting with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Turkey and the United States have an important strategic relationship," Bush told reporters after talks with Erdogan. Bush expressed his appreciation toward Turkey for its democracy and its support in "building democracy in Afghanistan" as well as in helping the Palestinians to build an independent state.
"Turkey's democracy is an important example for the people in the broader &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2002/12/21/41146.html ' target=_blank>Middle East, and I want to thank you for yourleadership," Bush told Erdogan.
Erdogan, who joined Bush's news briefing, said "we're happy that we were able to confirm that our strategic relationship will move forward and take place in the future as it has been done in the past."