Mar 29 2018

The U.S. confirms the meeting with Turkish undersecretary on March 30

Update: On Thursday, 1.50 pm EST, an official of the U.S. State Department confirmed "that on Friday March 30 (tomorrow), Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will meet with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Umit Yalcin  in Washington, DC, to continue the discussions Secretary Tillerson initiated February 15 in Ankara and followed by the working group meetings March 8-9 in Washington."

Title of this article has been changed accordingly, and the story is updated.

Turkish Foreign Ministry made an announcement that the Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın is going to pay a working visit to Washington on March 30.

Turkish Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday, stated that Yalçın is going to discuss "Turkey-US relations, regional and international issues as well as the outcome of the Working Group meeting, held in Washington D.C. on 8-9 March 2018," with Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of State John Sullivan.

However, when the announcement of the Turkish MFA asked about, the U.S. State Department official Pooja Jhunjhunwala did not confirm any meeting and told Ahval via email, "No meetings to announce at this time."

On the other hand, a high official from the U.S. Department of State is scheduled to visit Turkey to discuss security and defence trade issues, the department announced on Tuesday.

Tina Kaidanow, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, is set for a five day visit to Turkey and Iraq from Mar. 28 to Apr. 3, during which she will “meet with Turkish officials to discuss bilateral defense trade and security cooperation,” said the State Department’s statement.

“She will meet with representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to share U.S. perspectives on bilateral and regional security issues as part of the U.S.-Turkey Defense Trade Dialogue, and will hold a roundtable discussion with representatives from major U.S. and Turkish defense manufacturers,” it continued.

U.S.-Turkish relations have hit an intensely strained period, fuelled by diverging objectives in the Syrian war, and the use of unbridled anti-U.S. discourse by the Turkish president. However, the pair remain NATO allies, and the United States still sees Turkey as a vital part of its global security policy, as scholars at the Brookings Institution pointed out on Monday.

One contentious point around defence trade is Turkey’s deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile systems, which Turkey confirmed it would go ahead with despite U.S. unease.

Kaidanow will discuss regional security issues and U.S. security assistance programmes with Iraqi officials, focussing particularly on the fight against the Islamic State.

Read the State Department’s statement in full.