Turkey confirms U.S. President Barack Obama visit on April 6-7

Turkey confirms U.S. President Barack Obama visit on April 6-7

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan confirmed late on Wednesday that U.S. President Barack Obama will visit the country on April 6-7. (UPDATED)

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Erdogan told in an interview with a news channel that he had invited Obama to attend a meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative in Istanbul on April 7 and said it was meaningful that the U.S. president not only accepted the invitation, but decided also to pay an official visit to Ankara the day before. 

"I didn’t expect (an official visit) that soon... Combining the two occasions is very meaningful for us," Erdogan said in an interview with broadcaster TGRT Haber

He said Obama's visit carries high importance for both Turkey and the United States. "Turkey is a country that the U.S. can not give up in the region," he added.

Erdogan said the agenda of bilateral talks with Obama would include the Middle East conflict, efforts to end the division of Cyprus and Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

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The U.N.-backed Alliance of Civilizations initiative was lunched in 2005 in a bid to help overcome prejudices and misunderstandings between different cultures and religions. It is co-chaired by Turkey and Spain.

Obama has voiced determination to improve ties with the Islamic world and said he would give a major speech from a Muslim country during his first year in office.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told broadcaster Kanal 7 late on Wednesday that U.S. national security advisor Jim Jones has informed Ankara that Turkey is among several venues the White House is considering for the speech.


Obama’s program in Turkey has not yet been finalized and it is not known whether he would make any speech during his visit, Babacan added.


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Turkey earlier this month, saying that it was time to buttress relations between the two NATO allies, which went through a chilly period over the United States invasion of Iraq.


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Photo: AFP





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