Acknowledging "a difficult time" in relations with Turkey, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday appealed to the US ally for restraint against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and in reaction to a genocide resolution in the US Congress.
The Bush administration sent two high-ranking officials to Turkey for talks Saturday with government leaders. Eric Edelman is undersecretary of defense for policy and was US ambassador to Turkey from July 2003 to June 2005. Dan Fried is assistant secretary of state for European Affairs.
"It's a difficult time for the relationship," Rice told reporters during her trip to Russia. "We just thought it was a very good idea for two senior officials to go and talk to the Turks and have reassurance to the Turks that we really value this relationship."
US officials said Friday there are about 60,000 Turkish troops along the country's southern border with Iraq. The US military had not seen activity to suggest an imminent offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.