TURKISH PRESIDENT HEADS FOR US TO DICUSS PKK AND CYPRUS

The New Anatolian
Jan 7 2008
Turkey

President Abdullah Gul is off to the United States for a meeting with
leading American officials for continued active U.S. support in the
fight against the PKK and to prod United Nations Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moo to maker an extra effort to revive the Cyu[prus peace
provcess in 2008.

With the United States bowing to Turkey's insistence on punitive action
against Kurdish rebels in Iraq, the two nations can look forward to
a more harmonious encounter at summit talks here this week.

President George W. Bush is set to welcome Gul to the White House on
Tuesday morning, shortly before Bush leaves for the Middle East on
his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Turkey is been pleased with active American support against the PKK.

As President Bush promised Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in
October the U.S. has provided Turkey with valuable intelligence
about PKK hideouts and movements in northern Iraq and the fact that
the U.S. opened Iraqi airspace to Turkish jet fighters t raid the
PKK targets.

President Bush has called the PKK a joint enemy of the U.S. and Turkey.

Gull will reportedly thank Bush for the support and urge him to
continue this cooperation ion view of continued PKK terrorist attacks
in Turkey like the bomb blast that killed five people and injured 68
in Diyarbakir on Thursday.

The leaders are expected to discuss Turkey's long-running bid to join
the European Union, an aspiration warmly backed by the United States
in the face of resistance from some EU powerbrokers such as France.

And with Bush seeking to revitalize Middle East peace talks, Turkey's
influence with Israel and Arab states will also figure in Gul's
Washington talks, as will Iran's nuclear ambitions, according to
the State Department. Tyurkey ahs been mediating between Syria and
Israel to start direct talks. Turkey is also mediating to solve the
presidential elections impasse in Lebanon.

It will be Gul's debut trip to Washington since he took over as
Turkey's president in August.

Since then, Turkish opinion has been inflamed by deadly cross-border
attacks from northern Iraq by the PKK and by a push in the US Congress
to accuse the old Ottoman Empire of "genocide."

With the latest active support of the U.S. against the PKK Turkish
anger has been eased.

Bush promised Erdogan real time US intelligence on PKK movements across
the mountainous border between Turkey and Iraq, and the United States
approved to Turkish air raids on the militant hideouts.

In return, Turkish military promised not to stay on Iraqi soil and
to avoid actions that could destabilize Iraq more broadly.

Late last month, Gul declared that the US support "befits our alliance"
and added: "This is how it should be. We could have come to this
point earlier."

Turkish leaders are also happy with the waning of the campaign in
the US House of Representatives to label the World War I killing of
ethnic Armenians by Ottoman troops as "genocide."

After the genocide bill was passed by the chamber's foreign affairs
committee in October, Turkey threatened to sever US access to an
airbase that is a key staging post for supplies bound for Iraq and
Afghanistan.

But the resolution's Democratic authors then agreed to shelve a vote
in the full House, bowing to intense pressure not just from Turkey
but also from the Bush administration.

Besides Bush Gul will be meeting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney,
Defense Secretary Roberty Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice.

After talks in Washington Gul will move to NewYirk where he is expeced
to concentrate on the stalled Cyprus peace process.

The ongoing division of Cyprus between the Greek Cypriot government
in the south and the Turkish Cypriot administration in the north
threatens to stall Turkey's entry into the European Union.

Gul spoke in Ankara Thursday at a joint news conference with Turkish
Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat.

The European trade bloc has frozen membership negotiations with Turkey
in eight policy areas, because of Ankara's refusal to open its ports
and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

For his part, Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has blocked
U.N. efforts to ease trade restrictions against the Turkish Cypriots,
in a push to block any de facto recognition of the Turkish enclave.