Turkey's Erdogan open to US troops withdrawing through Turkey
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan would be open to allowing US troops to withdraw from Iraq across Turkish territory, according to an interview broadcast in Washington Sunday on CNN.
But while he was "positive" on the issue of the exit of American soldiers, he said there would be conditions on the transport of defence materiel.
"If weapons and ammunition are going to come out, it has to be clear where they are going to be heading," Erdogan told CNN in the interview, which was conducted Saturday. "If we are informed about where this military equipment would be going precisely, then we can make a proper evaluation."
His comments came just weeks before US President Barack Obama was to visit Turkey April 6 and 7. No such request has yet been made for troop withdrawal across Turkish territory, Erdogan told CNN.
Turkish-US relations reached a low point in 2003, when the Turkish Parliament, dominated by Erdogan's political party, nixed the use of Turkish territory as an invasion route, dpa reported.
Erdogan praised Obama for his intention to close down the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, and welcomed Obama's Nowruz message to Iran offering an olive branch in relations.