Turkish PM’s U.S. visit halts slide in relations - Xinhua

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's visit to the United States last week did not resolve any issues, but at least halted a further deterioration in relations, China's official news agency Xinhua said.

The unresolved key issues, Xinhua said, include:

  • Turkey's request for the extradition of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the religious movement it blames for the July 2016 coup attempt.
  • Turkey’s imprisonment for more than a year of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, and its arrest of U.S. consulate worker Metin Topuz in October, both on charges of links to the Gülen movement.
  • Turkey's opposition to ongoing U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish forces.
  • The New York trial of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab and his links to Turkish bankers and officials.

Yıldırım had been criticised at home for going to the United States without a credible plan to improve relations and came at a time when the two countries were in a dispute about issuing visas to each others’ nationals. U.S. investigators had also opened an investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn over an alleged plan to forcibly remove Gülen from his U.S. home.

Xinhua quoted Hurriyet Daily News Ankara bureau chief Serkan Demirtaş, as saying:

The important thing that comes from this meeting is that communications between the leaders of the two nations may increase in the coming days and this will avert further deterioration.