Deputy foreign minister to visit Washington on political consultations
Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Sedat Önal will visit Washington Sept. 16-17 and meet with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, a Foreign Ministry statement has said.
Bilateral relations, regional issues, and international developments are planned to be discussed within the framework of comprehensive political consultations to be held between the delegations, said the statement on Sept. 15.
Currently, the top issue between the two countries is efforts to operate Kabul airport and prevent humanitarian tragedies and instability in the war-torn country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met President Joe Biden in Brussels on June 14 on the sidelines of the NATO summit, the first in-person meeting after the latter came to power in January, and the two agreed to use direct channels of dialogue effectively and regularly.
In June, Ankara proposed to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after the withdrawal of NATO forces. The United States and Turkey had negotiated the details to keep the airport open as a safe passage for diplomatic missions in Afghanistan. However, the Taliban refused the presence of foreign troops in the country. Ankara and Washington, along with Qatar, continue discussions to maintain the operation of Kabul Airport over the necessity of technical support asked by the Taliban.
But long-stalled problems between the two allies are lingering despite the relative reconciliation in relations, particularly on two key issues. Turkey criticizes the U.S. for lending support to the PKK/YPG in northeastern Syria, saying its objective is to disintegrate Syria.
In a televised interview on Sept. 7, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed that some members of ISIL were transferred to Afghanistan from Syria by the Americans.
Another hot potato between the two NATO allies is the Russian-made S-400s air defense systems and reports that Turkey and Russia are discussing the acquisition of the second batch of these missile systems. Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air missile systems has led the U.S. to exclude Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program.
Ankara objects to the decision saying the deal with Russia was made before the U.S. Senate decision for sanctions on Turkey. Ankara reiterates that Turkey had been making its payments properly and producing around 700 pieces of the fighter jet.