FM to meet Blinken amid Turkey’s objection to Sweden, Finland NATO bids
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu pays an official visit to New York on May 16-19 to attend the first-ever International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) within the margins of the U.N. General Assembly.
Çavuşoğlu will also attend the “Global Food Security Call to Action” ministerial meeting, which will be held in New York at the U.N. Headquarters on May 18, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and will hold bilateral meetings, the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement
Çavuşoğlu will hold the first Foreign Ministers-level meeting of the Turkey-U.S. Strategic Mechanism with Blinken and will also meet members of the Turkish-American community in New York.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, last year agreed to launch the Turkey-U.S. Strategic Mechanism. The two NATO allies aim to review bilateral topics through this mechanism, whose first meeting of delegations was held in the capital Ankara on April 4.
The visit comes amid objections from Turkey, a key NATO member who declared Finland and Sweden should not be allowed to join the alliance because they have been too lax in taking action against the PKK terror organization. Countries can only join NATO if all current members agree.
The war between Ukraine and Russia brought Turkey to the core of international efforts for peace as Ankara played a facilitator role in the dialogue between Kiev and Moscow. The talks are also expected to address the Ukrainian crisis.
The ties between Turkey and the U.S. have been facing ups and downs over disagreements on several issues, including the latter’s political and military support to the YPG group in Syria in the fight against ISIL since Ankara designated the YPG as the Syrian wing of the PKK, therefore as a terrorist organization.
Turkey’s procurement of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems has been another hot potato in bilateral ties. Turkey was excluded from the joint F-35 fighter jet program in mid-2019 after it deployed the Russian defense systems.
Ankara and Washington have been in talks over the latter’s supply of warplanes needed by the Turkish army in return for the $1.4 billion it paid to the U.S. for the fifth-generation jet fighters. Recently, Turkey asked for the purchase of 40 F-16 fighters and 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet.