By Donna Miles
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2006 – President Bush continued to shore up coalition support in the war on terror, meeting here today with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the two leaders reaffirmed their cooperation in overcoming extremism that threatens the Middle East. The two leaders talked to reporters in the Oval Office following an "extensive and important dialog" that focused on how their countries "can and must work together to achieve peace," Bush said.
They discussed Iraq and Iran and their common efforts to bring stability to the region, he said. "Our desire is to ... help people who care about a peaceful future to reject radicalism and extremism," he said.
Erdogan called the United States "a very important strategic partner" and long-time ally to Turkey. The joint steps the two countries have pursued to fight terrorism "continues to be very important to our relations," he said. "In fact, we do share the same opinion about forming a joint platform in order to combat terrorism on a global scale."
Today's meeting followed Bush's Sept. 29 dinner with the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan. During the session with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Bush emphasized the importance of the U.S. and free countries in the Middle East to work together to stop the spread of terrorism and ensure a hopeful future for the region.
Bush praised both men as moderate leaders who "understand the stakes in the struggle."
Earlier that day, Bush met with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to reaffirmed the two countries' commitment to working together to defeat terrorism. During that session, Bush thanked Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan's first democratically elected leader, "for his contribution to helping a new democracy in Iraq survive and thrive and grow" and his willingness to offer assistance in Afghanistan, as well.