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    Top US general in Ankara for talks

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    01.07.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - Gen. David Petraeus, the head of United States Central Command, arrived Tuesday in Ankara to meet Turkish officials on the eve of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from neighboring Iraq. The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, however, said the visit is not related to the pullout in Iraq.

    Turkey has said it could possibly agree to the use of Turkish soil for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from neighboring Iraq. Turkey, a NATO member, is also a key U.S. ally in Afghanistan.

    Petraeus, who oversees American war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, will hold talks with Turkish officials on Wednesday, reported Anatolian news agency, citing the U.S. Embassy.

    Visit not related to pullout

    In the meantime, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey said Petraeus's visit was not related with the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, the Anatolian Agency reported. Jeffrey told at a meeting in the Aegean province of Izmir that no concrete plans were yet in place for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and added there have been no talks between the United States and Turkey regarding this.

    He said Petraeus's area of command covered the Middle East and Central Asia, which Turkey showed close interest in. Jeffrey acknowledged that the U.S. worked together with Turkey against the terrorist organization PKK, and in Afghanistan, adding that his visit was mainly concerning these topics. American troops finally withdrew from Iraqi towns and cities in a milestone for the country's recovery six years after the U.S.-led invasion to hand over to Iraqi security forces.

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