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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 2 April, 2003, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
US 'progress' in Turkey talks
United States Secretary of State Colin Powell
Powell's visit was unexpected
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that the Turkish Government has agreed to allow some support to US troops in northern Iraq.

Speaking after talks in Ankara with Turkish leaders, Mr Powell said that "all outstanding issues" concerning supplies to the troops had been agreed.

He added that agreement had been reached on means of sending humanitarian aid to the region.

Mr Powell's trip was seen as an attempt to heal the rift which opened up with Turkey over its failure to allow US troops to invade Iraq.

He held talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and was expected to see army chief of staff General Hilmi Ozkok in the afternoon.

Relations warming

Mr Powell said a co-ordination committee would be set up by the two countries to monitor events in northern Iraq, adding that the US had demonstrated to Turkey that there was no need for its forces to move across the border.

Turkey were emboldened by the way the US and UK were isolated in the world community
Sarah, Germany

He said that Turkey had already agreed to allow emergency landings for coalition aircraft and to take in wounded.

But Turkish commercial NTV television said Mr Gul had rejected a request to ease a ban on the sale of fuel oil by Iraqi Kurds, on the grounds that revenues generated from the sales could be spent on arms for use against Turkey.

The BBC's Jon Leyne says that while relations have warmed up between the two countries it will take more than a day of meetings to fully repair relations damaged by Ankara's refusal to allow in US ground forces.

Mr Powell's foreign trip is the first by a senior member of the Bush administration since the Iraq war started.

We are not opposed to these meetings. But it would have been good if Mr Powell had taken such initiatives before the war
Greek Government spokesman
On Thursday Mr Powell is due to go on to Brussels, where he is expected to discuss the US-led campaign in Iraq with foreign ministers of the European Union and Nato member states.

But the surprise trip has already come under fire.

EU officials have warned the US not to expect quick decisions regarding a post-war Iraq from his visit.

"We are not opposed to these meetings. But it would have been good if Mr Powell had taken such initiatives before the war," said a spokesman for the Greek Government, which holds the EU presidency.

The EU has told Mr Powell it wants the UN to take "centre stage" in the rebuilding of post-war Iraq.

The UN has "a unique capacity" and experience to rebuild nations ravaged by war, said EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin.

Course of war

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason says some European governments may also want to talk as much about the course of the war.

In particular, they may want to discuss whether a protracted conflict will so poison the atmosphere in Iraq and the region that reconstruction will be hugely difficult.

The Iraq war has divided the EU, with Germany and France remaining bitterly opposed to the war.

The Bush administration is hoping this new round of diplomacy will heal some of the discord created in the run-up to the conflict.

Kurdish soldier leaves Grand Mosque in Kurdish-controlled Dohuk, northern Iraq
Turkey is concerned the Kurds may declare an independent state
A US State Department official described Mr Powell's visit as a "kiss and make up trip".

Mr Powell is also expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who also opposes the US-led action in Iraq.

Mr Powell is not thought to be looking for any more specific help from Nato and the EU.

The US had asked Turkey to permit it to move tens of thousands of troops, including the crack 4th Infantry Division, through its territory to open a northern front in the war - for which Ankara would have received a hefty US aid package.

In the event, the Turkish parliament rejected the deployment by three votes on 1 March, despite the presence of dozens of ships carrying US equipment waiting offshore to unload.

The US has since repeatedly warned Turkey against sending troops into northern Iraq.

The deployment of US troops on Turkish soil is a highly sensitive issue for the mainly Muslim nation, where many people oppose the war with Iraq.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"Anti-American sentiment runs deep in Turkey"

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