Clinton in Turkey to boost bilateral relations 2009-03-07 20:17:48   Print

    ANKARA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Ankara early on Saturday on a one-day working visit aimed at boosting bilateral ties.

    Clinton met with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan early Saturday morning and bilateral relations between the two NATO allies, Middle East peacekeeping as well as the fight against terrorism were high on agenda of the meetings, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

    According to the report, Clinton's visit was aiming to try to build a better image for the Obama administration in order to remove a wave of anti-Americanism that rose after the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq in 2003.

    Turkish prime minister's press office said in a statement posted on its website on Saturday that Erdogan's closed-door meeting with Clinton focused on regional and global developments including the issues of Palestinians, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan was also present at the meeting in which relations between Turkey and the United States as two friendly and allied countries were assessed, said the statement.

    Clinton is scheduled to meet with President Abdullah Gul later in the day. She will also hold a joint press conference with Babacan after the meetings.

    Meanwhile, to reach out to the Turkish people, Clinton is supposed to appear on a popular talk show named " Haydi Gel Bizimle Ol" (Come and Join Us), which is to be broadcast on the private NTV news channel.

    Clinton is also expected to discuss with Turkish leaders the withdrawal of U.S. troops from neighboring Iraq, Anatolia's report said, adding she is supposed to bring up the matter that U.S. army uses Turkish ports or bases when withdrawing from Iraq.

    Earlier this week, Erdogan and Babacan said Turkey would look positively to a U.S. military pullout from Iraq.

    In March 2003, Turkey's parliament rejected a decree to allow U.S. troops to launch their invasion of Iraq from Turkish territory.

    Clinton visited Turkey as the first lady in 1999 with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Editor: Chris
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