Turkish PM plans to visit Obama for talks on terrorism
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to meet with US President Barack Obama on a working visit to the US in the coming months, a Turkish official source has said, Todays Zaman reported.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official stated that such a meeting was discussed during the last phone conversation between the two leaders when Erdogan congratulated Obama on his re-election for a second term as president.
However, the official claimed that the schedule for the meeting is not yet certain, and added that regional issues as well as bilateral relations will be at the top of the agenda of the planned talks.
Meanwhile, Turkish reports stated on Tuesday that Erdogan's meeting with Obama at the White House will be in February and focus on Turkey's problem with terrorism. Erdogan is expected to ask for the president's support for a new government project to eliminate the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism plaguing Turkey, officially called the National Unity and Fraternity Project.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, the PKK has been waging a bloody war in Turkey's Southeast since 1984, killing more than 40,000 people so far.
The PKK issue continues to occupy the Turkish agenda, following an increase in attacks by the terrorist group in southeastern Turkey that began last spring.
Top level US officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have recently pledged continuing support to Turkey in its counterterrorism efforts, by supplying the country with the necessary military capability to solve the problem. US political sources, in line with the government's recent report, are emphasizing that continuing political dialogue with the PKK is also essential to the resolution of the problem.