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Bush, Turkish Prime Minister Discuss Fight Against Terrorism


President Bush says the United States and Turkey are in agreement on the need to fight terrorism, and to prevent atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region. The president met with Turkey's prime minister Monday, at the White House.

President Bush says the war on terror figured prominently in his discussions with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We talked about our determined efforts to fight terror and extremism," Mr. Bush said. "We talked about our common efforts to bring stability to the Middle East. Our desire is to help people who care about a peaceful future to reject radicalism and extremism."

The Turkish leader described the United States as a strategic partner and a long-standing ally.

"The joint steps taken to pursue our fight against terrorism continue to be very important in our relations. In fact, we share the same opinion about forming a joint platform in order to combat terrorism on a global scale," hsaid,

President Bush spoke in favor of Turkey joining the European Union, and both men took note of economic reforms undertaken by Turkey.

Finally, President Bush noted that Prime Minister Erdogan had visited Sudan's troubled Darfur region. Mr. Bush, who earlier in the day met with his special envoy for Sudan, urged the government in Khartoum to "end the suffering" in Darfur.

Tensions between the United States and Turkey, a NATO ally, flared before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when Turkey declined to allow U.S. soldiers on Turkish territory. Since then, both nations have expressed a desire to assure security along the border between Turkey and Iraq.

Turkey has long feared that any steps taken towards establishing an independent Kurdish province in Iraq could further nationalist desires among Turkey's large Kurdish population.