Desire at leadership level to see relations between Turkey, US flourish: Trump senior adviser Kushner
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Both U.S. and Turkish leaders have a “tremendous desire” to see economic relations flourish, according to U.S. president Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, attended a reception at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on April 16 to close a conference on U.S.-Turkish relations.
Kushner accompanied Turkish Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak in his meeting with Trump at the White House on April 15. Albayrak also held talks with the U.S. secretary of treasury and secretary of commerce, before and after his meeting with Trump.
“The more I have attended the meetings the more I have been surprised to see the potential between the two countries not realized,” Kushner said, addressing the reception on April 16.
“We are really enthusiastic about the potential between the two countries. I have heard this from both President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and President Trump; there is a tremendous desire at the top to see the relationship from the economic point of view grow and flourish,” said Kushner, who met Erdoğan in Ankara last February.
“So you have the full commitment from our governments. We have to do our job but you have to do your job to find ways in different industries to give us ideas to make necessary investments,” Kushner told the representatives of the business community.
Kushner said they have many friends in Turkey and Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, the president of the Turkish-U.S. Business Council, was one of them.
Meanwhile, Yalçındağ expressed hope that a solution will be found to Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missiles, an irritant for the U.S., which threatens Ankara with the suspension of the delivery of the F-35 fighter jets.
“My feeling is that a solution will be found; I am hopeful,” said Yalçındağ, speaking to Turkish journalists hours before the reception where Kushner spoke.
“U.S. interlocutors got the same message from us from top to down; and they understood that there is no question of giving up on purchasing the S-400s,” Yalçındağ added.
“Before, the situation was ‘Turkey should give up or else…’ Currently the question is how to solve this issue. My feeling is that a solution will be found; I am more hopeful than I was before I came to Washington,” said Yalçındağ.
It was clear that his optimism stemmed from Albayrak’s meeting with Trump.
“To my knowledge, it is the first time a minister who came to Washington was received at the White house by the U.S. president,” said Yalçındağ, stressing the importance of organizing the American-Turkish Council/TAİK conference which was postponed twice in 2018.
Saying the key problems between Turkey and the U.S. were the Syrian war, the S-400s, FETÖ, the detentions of U.S. embassy personnel in Turkey and the pending penalties against the Turkish state-owned lender Halkbank over an Iran sanctions-busting case, Yalçındağ stressed he expected both sides to handle these problems as a “package.”
American-Turkish Council President James Jones was more cautious in his statements about the tension on the S-400 issue. Jones said that the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, understands Turkey’s position, but that does not necessarily mean there is an agreement.
Jones said Turkey’s policies on Russia, China and Venezuela leave many in Washington puzzled. “They can’t understand Turkey’s policies on these issues,” said Jones.