Turkish foreign minister visits US this week, source says

FILE PHOTO: Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan attends a press conference, with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil Pinto (not pictured), in Caracas, Venezuela February 24, 2024. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/File Photo © Thomson Reuters

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign minister will visit the U.S. on March 7-8 for talks on the Gaza and Ukraine wars and defence and energy, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Tuesday, as relations warm following a warplane deal and cooperation on NATO diplomacy.

Ties between the NATO allies have been strained for years by issues ranging from Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems to U.S. support for a Kurdish militia in Syria regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group.

However, the sale of U.S. F-16 fighter jets to Turkey after Ankara’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession has brought positive momentum to their ties.

During Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s visit, at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, they will hold a meeting of the “strategic mechanism” that the two countries’ leaders decided to establish in 2021 with a focus on bilateral cooperation, the source said.

Fidan is also expected to hold talks with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

The source said that lifting sanctions on Turkey’s defence industry, the sale of F-16 fighter jets and the Black Sea grain deal will be discussed during Fidan’s visit, as well as the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts.

“He will express the need to stop Israel’s massacre in Gaza, achieve an immediate and complete ceasefire in Gaza and take action for a two-state solution in accordance with international parameters,” the source said.

The U.S. Senate last week defeated an effort to stop the $23 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits to Turkey, which President Joe Biden’s administration approved after Turkey assented to Sweden’s joining the NATO alliance.

Source: Reuters/Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Burcu Karakas; Editing by William Maclean