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News Analysis: Kerry's visit to Ankara aims at healing rift between U.S., Turkey

English.news.cn   2013-03-01 00:22:22            

ANKARA, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- A planned visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's to Turkey on Friday is meant to heal the rift between Ankara and Washington and smooth out differences over a number of issues between the two NATO allies, Turkish analysts said.

Kerry will pay a two-day visit to Ankara, a first since he became secretary of state in late January, to talk with Turkish leaders and officials, including Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Yasin Aktay, the president of the Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE), told Xinhua that there are various issues need to be discussed between the two sides.

"During Kerry's visit, all the pending issues in the region and on the bilateral level, including situation in Syria and Iraq will be put on the table," he said.

"The U.S.-Turkish relations are generally good, but not without even a thorny issue. There are differences in the approaches in Syria, Iraq, Israel and Iran, but both the United States and Turkey share the same goals," Mehmet Sahin, a professor of international relations at the Ankara-based Gazi University, told Xinhua.

The Syrian crisis along with issues of mutual concern will top their agenda, he noted.

"Turkey wants to resolve the crisis as soon as possible. I think Turkish officials will press Kerry to come up with further engagement of the United States in the Syrian file," he added.

But Mehmet Yegin, who is an expert on the U.S.-Turkish relations at the International Strategic Research Organization ( USAK), said that Turkey should not hold high expectations from the United States regarding the Syrian crisis.

"The Syrian crisis is very complicated. The United States does not want to play an active role in the crisis," Yegin contended.

As for the government side, a Turkish government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "Kerry is not just coming to listen to Turkish officials' concern here. He knows the Syrian issue and the Turkish position on that very well. We expect him to come up with proposals to bring Turkish and U.S. policies into realignment."

The official also said despite differences on various regional issues, the cooperation between Ankara and Washington is much better than media's report.

However, differences between the two countries over disturbances in Iraq and the Kurds issue remains major.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz on Tuesday said that Turkey will continue to involve in northern Iraq despite the pressure from the United States.

In an interview with daily Today's Zaman, Yildiz said he "does not understand why Turkey's presence in the energy field in Iraq's Kurdish region should ever be seen as a trouble when there are already 39 energy firms from 19 countries carry out business there. "

He stressed that Turkey wouldn't act in violation of the Iraqi constitution, but he also made it clear that Iraq is a valuable partner for Turkey in energy.

"We can't remain indifferent to Iraq, which is right next to Turkey," Yildiz said.

During the visit, Kerry is also expected to discuss Turkey's troubled ties with Israel, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to Israel in coming weeks.

Washington has been pushing Turkey and Israel for amending the fences following the break-up in ties after the flotilla incident in 2010 that killed nine Turkish citizens by Israeli commandos.

Meanwhile, the counter-terrorism cooperation between Ankara and Washington will also be on the agenda following the bombing targeting the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Feb. 1, which was launched by a leftist militant organization called DHKP/C, listed as terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

"After the attack on the U.S. Embassy, the fight against terrorism has become a significant topic that the two sides will focus on," Yegin said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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