US officer sees good signs in relations with Turkey

Turkey's signal this week that it would be willing to let US troops transit the country as forces leave Iraq is a sign of improved relations, but it is not yet certain the route will be needed, a top US Army commander told The Associated Press Tuesday. "We're in the process now of trying to re-establish what had been a long standing positive relationship," Gen. Carter Ham, who commands US Army Europe, told the AP. "I'm not aware that there are any plans from Central Command to move troops through Turkey but the fact that the (Turkish) prime minister said he would consider that is a positive sign." Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan said he would be receptive to allowing US troops to leave Iraq through Turkish territory, provided President Barack Obama's administration asked permission, CNN reported Sunday. Ham's remarks came after he wrapped up a two-day meeting with Turkish defense officials in Ankara, but he said the topic was not a part of those discussions.