Erdoğan ready for first international appearance as president
President Erdoğan is set for his first international appearance after taking office, including participation at the key NATO Summit in Wales and bilateral visits to Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan. AA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set for his first international appearances after taking office on Aug. 28, including participation at the key NATO Summit and bilateral visits to Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan.
Erdoğan’s itinerary this week begins with a one-day trip to Northern Cyprus, in line with the tradition followed by Turkish statesmen who come to office. He will meet Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu and other high ranking officials today, where he will reiterate Turkey’s support to the ongoing reunification talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots and will urge Greek Cypriots not to further delay the process.
Erdoğan’s second trip abroad will be to Azerbaijan. He is expected to depart to Baku tomorrow and will meet with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev the following day. Turkey and Azerbaijan have recently intensified economy and energy relations after Azerbaijan’s state company SOCAR put billions of dollars of investments into Turkey. The two countries are currently working on the realization of a major pipeline project, the TANAP, to transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe via Turkey.
The new president's visit to Baku will also touch on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which also affects Ankara-Yerevan relations. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was in Turkey last week to attend Erdoğan's inauguration as president and used the venue as an opportunity to submit a letter of invitation to Erdoğan for the next year’s centennial anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey has not yet responded to the invitation.
Erdoğan will then directly go to Wales from Baku to attend the NATO Summit on Sept. 4 and 5. Erdoğan’s team and the Foreign Ministry are still working on his program in Wales, especially on his possible bilateral meetings, including with U.S. President Barack Obama.
In a recent televised interview, Erdoğan said he would bring Israel’s blockade on Gaza to the attention of the NATO Summit, while the ongoing NATO deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkish territories and the growing threat of the extremist jihadists will also be on the agenda of the Turkish delegation. The summit, however, is expected to prioritize the ongoing crisis between the alliance and Russia over Ukraine.