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Turkish MPs Travel To U.S. To Quell Fears Of Diplomatic Shift

Lawmakers from Turkey's Islamist-rooted ruling party flew to the United States on June 14 for talks to allay fears that Ankara was sliding away from the West.

The week-long trip comes amid charges at home and abroad that Turkey, a NATO member vying for European Union membership, is deviating from its Western course.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP), the moderate off-shoot of a now-defunct Islamist party in power since 2002, categorically denies the allegations.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the European Union's refusal to offer Turkey a swift accession process had partly caused Ankara's foreign policy shift and the deterioration in its relations with Israel.

compiled from agency reports