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    Koizumi: We don't have the political baggage of the US

    Hürriyet Haber
    11.01.2006 - 12:44 | Son Güncelleme: 11.01.2006 - 12:44

    Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is in Turkey on a five-day visit, voiced his support to help Turkey in its mission to aid the Middle East peace process. The Japanese PM said that Tokyo has long felt it has a role to play in aiding relations between the Palestinians and Israelis as it doesn't carry they same political baggage as the US, while Turkey is one of a handful of Muslim nations which has good relations with Israel.

    Koizumi is the first Japanese leader to visit Turkey in 15 years. The two PMs told a joint news conference that the two nations had agreed to increase their cooperation for Middle East peace.

    "Turkey has a very good relationship with both Israel and Palestine, as does Japan," Koizumi said, "From this point of view, Turkey and Japan are partners working towards a common benefit."

    During talks held prior to the news conference, the two leaders also discussed support for Iraq, which shares a border with Turkey.

    "I hope we can pursue concrete ways in which Japan and Turkey can cooperatively support these nations," Koizumi said.

    The two leaders agreed that cooperative measures are possible on bird flu as well but said this would have to be further discussed.

    Japan and Turkey have a history of friendly relations stretching back to 1890, when Japan rescued sailors from a Turkish ship that sank in its waters.

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