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Turkey, US to Discuss Terrorism - 2001-09-25

Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem travels to Washington Tuesday where he will hold talks with Secretary of State Colin Powell on a common approach to the battle against global terrorism.

Foreign Minister Cem's visit to the United States comes only days after Turkey pledged to open its airspace to U.S. military transport planes and to share intelligence on Afghanistan.

Mr. Cem is expected to brief Secretary Powell on Turkey's contribution to any possible military action against Afghanistan, where Saudi-born Osama bin Laden is believed to be in hiding.

The United States has named Mr. bin Laden as the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.

Prior to his departure, Foreign Minister Cem met with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

Prime Minister Ecevit later told reporters that Turkey needs to become "even closer to the United States."

Turkey is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's only majority Muslim member. It is also Israel's closest regional ally.

Even so, recent public opinion polls indicate there is little public support for Turkey's involvement in a major conflict pitting western nations against Afghanistan and potentially other Islamic countries deemed to support and harbor terrorists.