No scheduled Erdoğan-Obama meeting, says Turkish spokesperson
ANKARAThere is no scheduled bilateral meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. during the Nuclear Security Summit on March 31 and April 1, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said March 28.
“The visit our President [Erdoğan] is making to Washington is not a bilateral visit. It is a multi-national, multi-participants summit,” said Kalın during a press conference in Ankara on March 28, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
“During these summits bilateral meetings are held as far as the program allows. There will be meetings that we have planned, that are demanded of us and that we demanded. Work is continuing for such a meeting with Mr. Obama,” he added.
The White House has made no official statement on whether the two leaders will meet during Erdoğan’s visit to the United States between March 29 and April 2.
The president is traveling to the U.S. where he will attend the Nuclear Security Summit, and the opening ceremony of a mosque and culture center constructed in Maryland with the funding of the Turkish government.
Erdoğan wanted to open the mosque and center with Obama, but sources said Obama was not expected to attend the ceremony.
Erdoğan is expected to address the Brookings Institute and attend a dinner hosted by the Atlantic Council, a think tank in the field of international affairs. He is scheduled to meet the representatives of the leading Jewish organizations at the residence of Turkey’s Washington Embassy.
Earlier reports citing sources had claimed that a meeting between Erdoğan and Obama would take place in Washington.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu traveled to Washington over the weekend to hold talks and prepare for a possible Erdoğan-Obama meeting this week, sources said on condition of anonymity.
Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are scheduled to hold a meeting on March 28, at the ministerial building in Washington.
Apart from Çavuşoğlu, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak will accompany Erdoğan during his visit.
Çavuşoğlu’s early trip to Washington came a few days after U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a two-day visit to the Turkish capital, where Blinken held talks to discuss the details of Erdoğan’s schedule during his Washington visit.
In Ankara, Blinken and Çavuşoğlu also discusses the ongoing efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and to resolve the Syrian problem through diplomacy.
Ways in which to enhance cooperation between Turkey and the U.S in the fight against terror were also discussed.