Turkey and the United States agreed on Wednesday to set up a permanent ''consultative forum'' on matters like Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia within the framework of their ''strategic dialogue.''Halil Akinci, the Director General of Turkish Foreign Ministry responsible for Russia-Caucasus and Central Asia, met Laura Kennedy, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European & Eurasian Affairs of the Department of State, in Washington yesterday.
Sources told A.A correspondent that the situation in Georgia, developments in Russia and Caucasus, Nagorno Karabakh problem, relations with Armenia and energy were discussed in the meeting.
The U.S. Department of State issued a press release about Akinci's contacts which was entitled ''United States-Turkey Strategic Dialogue.''
The press release said, ''as part of the strategic dialogue between the United States and Turkey, the Department of State and an interagency team led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador Laura Kennedy, hosted today, February 23, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Director General for Bilateral Affairs, Ambassador Halil Akinci, to discuss Eurasian issues. The bilateral meetings provided a forum for us to discuss common interests and explore ideas for greater collaboration on issues including, inter alia, the resolution of frozen conflicts in the region, energy, and political and economic reform. The Turkish delegation invited the United States side to come to Turkey for the next session of what our two countries agree should become a permanent consultative forum.''
TURKISH OFFICIALS TO MAKE VISITS TO UNITED STATES
Observers in Washington think that the press release of the U.S. Department of State regarding Akinci's contacts is an answer to recent discussions on Turkish-U.S. relations. With this statement, the U.S. Department of State gives a message that ''every kind of consultation is held between Turkey and the United States'' and stresses that relations (between two countries) are covering a large geography, they said.
Richard Boucher, the spokesman of the Department of State, had earlier made a statement, underlining ''positive and robust'' relations between Turkey and the United States.
Many U.S. officials including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Policy of the U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; and Gen. John Abizaid, the Commander of the U.S. Central
Command; visited Turkey as a part of bilateral relations.
Sources in Washington said that now they are expecting Turkish officials to visit their country. After newly-appointed staff of the U.S. Department of State take over their posts, Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ali Tuygan is expected to visit Washington at the end of March or beginning of April. Some other high-level Turkish
officials will also visit the United States after Tuygan, the same sources assert.