GeriGündem US Vice President to visit Turkey in March (UPDATED)
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US Vice President to visit Turkey in March (UPDATED)

US Vice President to visit Turkey in March (UPDATED)
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US Vice President Dick Cheney will pay official visit to Turkey in March, sources told Hurriyet.com.tr.

ANKARA - US Vice President Dick Cheney, recognized by many as the mastermind of the Washington administration, and as someone who has directed the US towards the war in Iraq, will pay official visit to Turkey in March, sources told Hurriyet.com.tr. Cheney will be accompanied by high level military officials. The team will also include civilian officials, according to the sources. The visit is planned for one day.      

Cheney will meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul as well as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. He is also expected to hold talks with the Turkish General Chief of Staff Yasar Buyukanit.


Cheney, who will spend just one night in Ankara, last visited Turkey in 2002, during the administration of former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. During his 2002 visit, Cheney met with Turkish officials about the possibility of using Turkish soil for US soldiers' entrances onto Northern Iraq territory. 
 
His visit is expected to focus on the struggle against PKK, Turkey’s role in Iran’s nuclear standoff and Turkish army’s support to NATO forces in Afghanistan, the sources said. Throughout all of these meetings to take place in Ankara, authorities said a strong focus will be placed on the strategic partnership between Turkey and the US.
 
In the meantime, the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is also expected to be making a visit soon to Ankara. According to sources, Gates may come as part of the Cheney delegation, or separately. The growing number of top level meetings between Turkish and American officials, particularly in the wake of last November's meeting between Erdogan and US President George W. Bush at the White House, is attracting attention in both capitals.

 

One of the most recent examples of such top level visits was the half day visit paid to Ankara two days ago by the number two figure from the US military, General James Cartwright. The general's reciprocal visit came only one week after Turkish General Ergin Saygun had visited Washington for a meeting with Cartwright. His latest visit to the Turkish capital was his second in 4 months.

 

Two other important Washington figures to make an appearance in Ankara this week have been US anti-terror official Urbancic and US Attorney General and head of the Justice Department Michael Mukasey.

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