Turkish FM to follow deputy in visiting Washington

Senior Turkish lawmaker Volkan Bozkir receives James Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Turkey

Turkish FM to follow deputy in visiting Washington FILE PHOTO

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu


Turkey’s foreign minister will visit Washington soon after a top U.S. diplomat visits Ankara on Friday, according to a senior Turkish lawmaker.

Volkan Bozkir, the head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, made the remarks when receiving James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and now a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute.

"I think that Turkish-U.S. relations will be better in the days to come," said Bozkir.

Bozkir said that members of the committee recently paid an official visit to the U.S. to hold talks with U.S. congressmen.

At the meeting, he said, they found the opportunity to tell the congressmen about Turkey's expectations for Turkish-U.S. relations.

Pointing to working group meetings between the two countries held on March 8-9 in Washington, Bozkir said that the two countries are taking important steps to solve issues that have divided them.

"I hope that the U.S. will meet our expectations in the days to come," said Bozkir, evidentially referring to Turkey's possible operation in Manbij, Syria, where U.S. forces have allied themselves with the terrorist YPG/PKK.

Ironing out issues

He also mentioned how Foreign Undersecretary Umit Yalcin will meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J.

Sullivan in Washington this Friday ahead of the changing of the guard, when Rex Tillerson officially steps down as secretary of state, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

"After this meeting, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit the U.S.," he said.

Before Tillerson’s exit was announced, Cavusoglu had been scheduled to visit on March 19.

Turkey and the U.S. have been trying to iron out a number of issues, principally concerning the terrorist YPG/PKK in Syria, a group the U.S. has worked with, calling it a "reliable ally" in the fight against Daesh.

Towards that end, Turkey and the U.S. have established working groups to discuss a number of issues, including the stabilization of Manbij, Syria and preventing any unwanted clashes.

Bozkir said that Turkey and the U.S. would find the opportunity to take joint actions against terrorism in Syria.

"One of our most important expectations from the U.S. is the extradition of FETO's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen," said Bozkir, also urging a financial probe of the terror group.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Bozkir also reminded that Turkey’s foreign undersecretary Umit Yalcin will meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in Washington this Friday.

Yalcin’s visit may be expected to address some of the issues that were to be tackled at that meeting.

"After this meeting, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit the U.S." he said.

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