Obama to visit Turkey in around a month: Clinton

ANKARA, March 7, 2009 (AFP) - US President Barack Obama will visit Turkey "in a month or so," his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Ankara Saturday.

Clinton was speaking at a joint press conference with Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan after talks with the country's leaders aimed at repairing relations damaged over the Iraq war.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) gestures during a press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Ankara March 7, 2009 (Photo: AFP)

"President Obama will be visiting Turkey within the next month or so," she said.

"The exact date will be announced shortly. We are just at the beginning of planning this decision reached yesterday."

Questioned by a journalist, Clinton said she could not confirm when or where would be the occasion for Obama's promised address in the capital of a major Muslim nation.

Earlier she had visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state, and had talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Babacan.

The discussions focussed on bilateral relations, the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism, a statement by Erdogan's press service said.

The statement called the United States a "friend and ally".

A senior US official earlier said on condition of anonymity Obama's administration had "a chance to rebuild on a better footing after the most acute problems accumulated in the Bush administration have finally been taken off" the table.

Turkey, a NATO member, refused in 2003 to open a northern front against Iraq from its territory for US-led invasion forces, provoking a chill in relations between Ankara and Washington.

Source: AFP

Other news