White House visit by Turkish president a sign of improved relations with US

The Turkish president's visit to the White House is seen as a major sign of improved relations between NATO allies after five years of acrimony over the Iraq war and US policy on Turkey's fight against Kurdish rebels. President Abdullah Gul's meeting with President George W. Bush follows a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan two months ago that resulted in a commitment by Bush to share intelligence on Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, rebels and not to object to Turkish airstrikes against the Kurdish guerrillas' installations in northern Iraq. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters Tuesday that Bush will discuss with the Turkish president the possibility of forging a "long-term political solution." She did not elaborate. Perino said talks must continue to include Iraqi leaders. "We are going to encourage an open dialogue which they have had over the last couple of months, sometimes in fits and starts....This has been going on for so long, it's time to put a stop to it," Perino said.