ANKARA: Turkey and US Agree to Set up Consultative Forum

Journal of Turkish Daily
Feb 24 2005

Turkey and US Agree to Set up Consultative Forum

Turkey and the United States agreed on Wednesday to set up a
permanent ”consultative forum” on matters like Russia, Caucasus and
Central Asia within the framework of their ”strategic dialogue.”

Halil Akinci, the Director General of Turkish Foreign Ministry
responsible for Russia-Caucasus and Central Asia, met Laura Kennedy,
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European & Eurasian Affairs of
the Department of State, in Washington yesterday.

Sources told A.A correspondent that the situation in Georgia,
developments in Russia and Caucasus, Nagorno Karabakh problem,
relations with Armenia and energy were discussed in the meeting.

The U.S. Department of State issued a press release about Akinci’s
contacts which was entitled ”United States-Turkey Strategic

The press release said, ”as part of the strategic dialogue between
the United States and Turkey, the Department of State and an
interagency team led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and
Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador Laura Kennedy, hosted today, February
23, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director General for
Bilateral Affairs, Ambassador Halil Akinci, to discuss Eurasian
issues. The bilateral meetings provided a forum for us to discuss
common interests and explore ideas for greater collaboration on
issues including, inter alia, the resolution of frozen conflicts in
the region, energy, and political and economic reform. The Turkish
delegation invited the United States side to come to Turkey for the
next session of what our two countries agree should become a
permanent consultative forum.”


Observers in Washington think that the press release of the U.S.
Department of State regarding Akinci’s contacts is an answer to
recent discussions on Turkish-U.S. relations. With this statement,
the U.S. Department of State gives a message that ”every kind of
consultation is held between Turkey and the United States” and
stresses that relations (between two countries) are covering a large
geography, they said.

Richard Boucher, the spokesman of the Department of State, had
earlier made a statement, underlining ”positive and robust”
relations between Turkey and the United States.

Many U.S. officials including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice; Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Policy of the U.S.
Department of Defense; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage; and Gen. John Abizaid, the Commander of the U.S. Central
Command; visited Turkey as a part of bilateral relations.

Sources in Washington said that now they are expecting Turkish
officials to visit their country. After newly-appointed staff of the
U.S. Department of State take over their posts, Turkish Foreign
Ministry Undersecretary Ali Tuygan is expected to visit Washington at
the end of March or beginning of April. Some other high-level Turkish
officials will also visit the United States after Tuygan, the same
sources assert.

Source Anadolu Agency