Türkİye, Politics

Cooperation, counter-terrorism, NATO issues discussed in Türkiye visit by US congressman

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin receives Jason Crow at presidential complex in capital Ankara

Zafer Fatih Beyaz   | 02.08.2022
Cooperation, counter-terrorism, NATO issues discussed in Türkiye visit by US congressman

ANKARA

A senior Turkish official received US Congressman Jason Crow and his accompanying delegation on Tuesday at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, where they discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

In their meeting, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin discussed bilateral political and economic relations with Crow, along with the fight against terrorism, cooperation in the defense industry, and strategic ties in NATO.

Major global and regional issues were also on the agenda, according diplomatic sources.

Kalin and Crow also discussed Russia's war on Ukraine and a related grain export agreement, Syria, Afghanistan, migration, Türkiye's normalization process with Armenia, NATO accession for Sweden and Finland, and issues related to the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean seas.

Emphasizing the strategic importance of Türkiye-US relations, Kalin said removing obstacles to economic and defense industry cooperation would contribute to improving bilateral ties.

He hailed the attitude of the US administration on Türkiye's interest in buying F-16 fighter jets and expressed expectations for a similar attitude from the US Congress.

After its unfair suspension from the F-35 program, Türkiyehas sought to broker a deal with the US for the sales of F-16s and upgrade kits for earlier models of the fighter jet.

Grain export agreement

On Türkiye's role in the recent UN-backed grain deal with Russia and Ukraine, Crow said the accord was an important step towards resolving the global food crisis.

Ankara is playing a critical role in this process, he highlighted, after the first grain-laden ship departed from the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Monday.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed the deal on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian ports -- Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny -- for grain that has been stuck for months because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month.

To oversee Ukrainian grain exports, a joint coordination center in Istanbul was officially opened on Wednesday, comprising of representatives from Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine to enable the safe transportation, by merchant ships, of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers from the three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

Additionally, Kalin said this agreement could create an environment of trust to pave the way for new cease-fire negotiations between the warring sides, adding that Türkiye's attempts in this direction continue.

Also, Ankara will continue to base its policy on peace and stability for the entire region, including the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas, Kalin added, underlining that Türkiye would not compromise its determined stance to protect its national interests and legitimate rights.

Normalization with Armenia

On the country's normalization process with Armenia, Kalin said the initiative would contribute to regional peace, stability, and prosperity, and that these efforts should be supported by the international community.

Ankara and Yerevan last December appointed special representatives for talks on normalizing ties, with the first meeting held in Moscow on Jan. 14. The parties have held four meetings so far.

As part of normalization efforts, this February Türkiye and Armenia resumed commercial flights after a two-year hiatus.

Fight against terrorism

On the fight against terrorism, Kalin underlined that all terror groups -- including Daesh/ISIS and the PKK, along with its Syrian branch the YPG -- threaten Türkiye's national security, and Syria's territorial integrity and political unity. They should be fought with determination without discrimination, he stressed.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

In 2013, Türkiye became one of the first countries to declare Daesh/ISIS a terrorist group.

The country has since been attacked by the terror group multiple times, with over 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed assaults.

In response, Türkiye launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.

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