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Turkey And The U.S.

President George W. Bush says Turkey is “a strategic partner of the United States” and an ally in the war on terror:

“We deal with common problems. One such problem is our continuing fight against a common enemy, and that’s the terrorists, and such a common enemy as the P-K-K [Kurdistan Workers Party]. It’s an enemy to Turkey, it’s an enemy to Iraq, and it’s an enemy to people who want to live in peace.”

Mr. Bush met with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul at the White House. Mr. Bush said the U.S. and Turkey are confronting P-K-K terrorists “and we will continue to confront them for the sake of peace.” Speaking through an interpreter, President Gul said Turkey and the U.S. “share a common vision” and “a common enemy”:

“We have once again underlined the importance of our cooperation in fighting against the P-K-K. And I would like to thank the President for his determination as well in this regard.”

The two leaders discussed a range of issues, including the Middle East and energy security. Mr. Bush said the U.S. supports Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union:

“I strongly believe that Europe will benefit with Turkey as a member of the European Union. I have held this position ever since I have been the President. I feel it as strongly today as when I first articulated it. I think Turkey sets a fantastic example for nations around the world to see where it’s possible to have a democracy coexist with a great religion like Islam. And that’s important. I view Turkey as a bridge between Europe and the Islamic world, a constructive bridge. And so I believe it’s in the interests of peace that Turkey be admitted to the E-U.”

President Bush said “relations between the United States and Turkey are important for our country” and “we have worked hard to make them strong.”