Turkey, US launch strategic mechanism to boost ties
Turkey and the United States launched a “Strategic Mechanism” to review bilateral topics at a meeting of delegations in the capital Ankara on April 4.
In keeping with the commitment made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, during their meeting in Rome in October 2021, Ankara and Washington launched the Turkey-U.S. Strategic Mechanism, a joint statement said after the meeting.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, with their respective delegations, met in Ankara to review topics of mutual interest, including economic and defense cooperation, counterterrorism, and key areas of shared regional and global interest, the statement said.
The delegations also discussed the latest developments in Ukraine following Russia’s military offensive.
They reiterated their shared commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the U.S. welcomed Turkey’s efforts to facilitate a just and negotiated diplomatic solution to end the war, it stated.
U.S. Department of Commerce Undersecretary Marisa Lago will visit Ankara on April 5-6 to advance the economic and trade cooperation goals of the Strategic Mechanism, the statement said.
Both countries look forward to a ministerial-level meeting within the framework of the Strategic Mechanism later in 2022, it added.
The two NATO allies agreed to focus on the topics of cooperation after a meeting of the presidents last year.
The war between Ukraine and Russia brought Turkey to the core of international efforts for peace as Ankara plays a facilitator role in the dialogue between Kiev and Moscow.
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 for 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 F-35 joint fighter program in mid-2019 after it has deployed the Russian defense systems.
Ankara and Washington have been in talks over the latter’s supply of warplanes the Turkish army needs 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 planes.