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Old 09-30-2006, 07:19 PM   #1
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Turkish prime minister to visit U.S.

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Erdoğan meets with Büyükanıt ahead of US visit
Saturday, September 30, 2006
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ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a surprise closed-door meeting with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt hours before departing for a key visit to the United States.

There was no immediate statement after the meeting, but reports said their talks tackled the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and aimed at drawing up a strategy before Erdoğan meets with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House on Monday.

The meeting took place at the request of Erdoğan, reports also said.

Büyükanıt has repeatedly vowed to pursue a relentless fight against the PKK.

Erdoğan said in an interview late on Thursday that he would ask for U.S. measures to speed up the fight against the PKK when he speaks with Bush. “We will underline once again that we want the process to speed up because we are not in a position to tolerate this [the PKK terrorism],” he said in an interview with private Samanyolu television. “We will emphasize the necessity for the terrorist organization to lay down its arms.”

Erdoğan reiterated that he regretted the failure of a government motion seeking parliamentary authorization for militarily cooperation with the United States in the Iraq war in 2003, saying a Turkish military presence in northern Iraq would have prevented the PKK from establishing a base there.

The prime minister said his talks in the United States would focus on other issues as well. “We will discuss whatever our strategic partnership requires,” he said.
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