Thu, April 09, 2009
World > Europe > Obama's travel to Europe

U.S. spokesman: Obama's visit to Turkey aims at underscoring its significance

2009-04-03 16:26:00 GMT2009-04-04 00:26:00 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ANKARA, April 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday that President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey aimed at highlighting Ankara's significance, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Gibbs was quoted as saying en route to the northeast French city of Strasbourg that Obama wanted to enhance relations with Turkey emphasizing the importance of working together with its NATO ally.

He said inclusion of Turkey in the destinations of Obama's first trip, which might strike as rather a surprise for the Turkish people, was an important gesture from the U.S. president.

Obama, which is expected to arrive in Ankara Esenboga Airport on Sunday, is set to meet on Monday with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and leaders of the political parties before addressing the Turkish parliament.

The Turkish government is expected to deploy over 4,000 policemen along with several other security measures during Obama's visit to the country on April 6-7.

After a welcoming ceremony at the airport, Obama will head for the downtown of the Turkish capital of Ankara in one of two decoy cars. The Turkish police will operate jammers, which neutralize radio-controlled explosive devices, during Obama's short trip.

Later, Obama will proceed to Istanbul to attend the Alliance of Civilizations Meeting and partake in a banquet at the historical Dolmabahce Palace together with other participating heads of state and government.

On April 7, Obama is expected to meet leaders of different faiths, and hold a round-table meeting with a small group of students and answer questions of students from Europe and the Middle East through video-conference.

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