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Rice Talks To Turkish Leaders


The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara:

"I'm here, really, in part to say to the Turks that we are firmly committed to a unified Iraq, to an Iraq in which all parties, all ethnic groups, all religious groups, all minorities are represented, and whose interests are represented in the new government. And we are making that message clear through all the channels that we have in Iraq, to those who might govern, that we hope to see the development of positive relations between Iraq and Turkey."

Secretary of State Rice reaffirmed America's determination to help Iraq rid itself of terrorist groups:

"Indeed, from the American point of view, whatever terrorist organizations wish to perpetuate crimes against populations have to be treated the same. Whether it is the al-Qaida, the P-K-K, or the Palestinian rejectionists, terrorism is simply not an acceptable tool in the modern world, and I wanted to be certain that the minister and his colleagues knew of America's commitment to rid the region of terrorism, including terrorism that might take place from the territory of Iraq."

"We are very concerned about the terrorist activities of the P-K-K," said Ms. Rice. She said the U.S. is "very determined to work with the Iraqis, to work with Turkey, to try to make sure that the P-K-K or Kongra-Gel cannot act."

One Turkish government official told the Turkish Daily News that including Turkey among the countries visited by Ms. Rice on her first official tour "proves that Turkish-U.S. relations are based on a close alliance and friendship."

Turkey's alliance with the U.S. is based on more than the need to deal with the common threat of terrorism. It is based on shared values and goals. "Turkey," said Ms. Rice, "is one of America's strongest partners in the broader Middle East reform, a functioning democracy, Islamic people here who are faithful and devout, but devoted to democracy." For the people of the Middle East, "who want a different kind of Middle East," Ms. Rice said, "Turkey has a very important role to play."

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