US and Turkey hope for new chapter after recent strain in relations

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At a White House meeting, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the need for mending ties after the arrest of a Turkish staff member of the US diplomatic consulate in Istanbul prompted a visa row.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) meets US Vice President Mike Pence (L) at the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington, United States. November 09, 2017.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) meets US Vice President Mike Pence (L) at the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington, United States. November 09, 2017.

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Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and US Vice President Mike Pence hoped for “a new chapter” between both countries during their meeting in Washington on Thursday.

The meeting, which was closed to the media, started at the Roosevelt room in the White House at 11 am local time (0400 GMT) and lasted an hour and 20 minutes.

A wide range of bilateral and regional issues was discussed during the meeting. 

TRT World’s Ediz Tiyansan reports.

“We spoke frankly about the YPG, PKK, PYD. Our meeting actually was very productive. We have discussed our issues honestly and sincerely with each other. We have addressed bilateral and regional matters,” Yildirim said.

Both officials underlined the significance of “long-rooted ally relationship and strategic partnership” and expressed a desire to “open a new page” in Turkey-US relations through constructive dialogue.     

“We have agreed on the continuation of infinite bilateral dialogue and to a 24-hour communication channel when instant response is needed on issues. Our phones will always be available for each other,” he said.

About the recent visa row between Turkey and the US, Yildirim said: “We expect it to return to normal from now on. In terms of general atmosphere, I have seen the will to improve the relations with mutual trust and sincerity. We will see the progress in time and we will follow it up. I have gained a positive impression from the vice president’s views.”      

The visa row was sparked on October 8, when the US Embassy announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services to Turkish nationals.

That move followed the arrest of a local employee at the US Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (3 R), Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak (R), Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic (4 R) and Binali Yildirim’s foreign affairs adviser Kerim Uras also attended the meeting with Mike Pence (2L). (Photo AA)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (3 R), Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak (R), Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic (4 R) and Binali Yildirim’s foreign affairs adviser Kerim Uras also attended the meeting with Mike Pence (2L). (Photo AA)

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A new chapter

“Today at the White House, Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to reaffirm the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and Turkey,” a statement from the White House said.

“The leaders expressed hope that their meeting would help to usher in a new chapter in US-Turkey relations and agreed on the need for constructive dialogue, as friends and allies, on bilateral challenges,” it added.

The parties also highlighted the mutual interest in stability and security in the Middle East and agreed to further intergovernmental consultations toward that end, the statement said.

Pence also thanked Yildirim for Turkey’s contributions to global security and the fight against Daesh and underscored the US commitment to stand with Turkey against the PKK, and other terrorist threats.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU, and US, resumed its decades-long armed campaign in July 2015. Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including a number of women and children.

Urging Turkey for more transparency, Pence also expressed “his concern” over the arrests of the US Mission’s staff, American citizens in Turkey, journalists, and civil society members.

Yildirim and his delegation later left for New York after the meeting at the White House. 

Turkish premier is scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and representatives of the Jewish community in New York before addressing investors at a dinner.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies





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