U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Turkish leaders
Saturday for talks aimed at warming U.S. relations with Ankara and
finding ways to bring stability to the Middle East.
Clinton with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. In a
statement released after the meeting, the Turkish leader said the two
discussed the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and the fight against
Turkey, which has ties to both Arab states and Israel, is a key player in the Middle East peace process.
During a NATO meeting Friday, Clinton said the United States is focused
on finding "as much common ground as possible" to push the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward.
Clinton was expected to press Turkey for a greater military presence in Afghanistan.
Turkey, a NATO member, borders Iraq. The majority-Muslim country
refused to allow the U.S. to use Turkey to launch attacks against Iraq,
when the U.S.-led invasion began in 2003.
Earlier this week, Turkey's foreign minister (Ali Babacan) said
his government is willing to allow the U.S. to use Turkey's military
bases and ports to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. He said no such
request has been made thus far.