US Vice President Joe Biden due to visit Turkey on Nov 21

US Vice President Joe Biden due to visit Turkey on Nov 21

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
US Vice President Joe Biden due to visit Turkey on Nov 21

US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the annual Veterans Day Observance Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Nov. 11. AP Photo

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will have talks in Turkey on Nov. 21 as part of his trip including Morocco and Ukraine, according to diplomatic sources.

The vice president will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and a number of nongovernmental representatives.

Biden will have meetings with Turkish leaders in Istanbul, so will not be the first official guest at Ak Saray, the controversial presidential palace in Ankara that recently sparked a public debate due to its cost.

Biden recently denied apologizing to Erdoğan for his statement about Turkey helping the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other militant groups in Syria, contradicting a previous White House statement that claimed the opposite.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis is set to be the first house guest at Turkey’s new presidential palace during a visit to Turkey on Nov. 28-30.

During his three-day visit, the spiritual leader of Catholics will meet President Erdoğan and Mehmet Görmez, head of the Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet). Erdoğan is scheduled to welcome Pope Francis as the Vatican’s Head of State with a top ceremony at the gargantuan presidential palace in Ankara.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Mustafa Kemal’s Atatürk’s mausoleum in Ankara before going to Istanbul on the second day of his program in Turkey. In Istanbul, visits to Hagia Sophia, which was once the largest Orthodox cathedral, the Blue Mosque, the Saint Esprit Catholic Church and the Patriarchate are on the schedule.

He also will hold a joint worship service with Patriarch Bartholomew, considered a “first among equals” in terms of Orthodox leaders, and sign a joint declaration with him Nov. 30.

Pope Francis will be the fourth Pope to visit Turkey after Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Paul VI in 1967.

U.S. defense undersecretary meets Turkish diplomat

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Ministry Undersecretary for Policy Christine Wormuth had a meeting with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu on Nov. 12.

Wormuth and Sinirlioğlu discussed regional developments and issues of cooperation in the international arena, primarily Syria and Iraq, according to a written statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.