Turkey’s Top Diplomat Travels to US Amid Troubled Relations

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to visit Washington amid tensions
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is to visit Washington this week, where he is expected to meet U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken as part of efforts to smooth out disagreements between the two NATO allies.

Positioned at the crossroads between East and West, Turkey remains a strategically important ally for the U.S. However, the two countries have been at odds over a number of issues, particularly Washington’s support of Kurdish militants in Syria and Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.

Cavusoglu expressed confidence this week that a planned deal for the purchase of 40 F-16 fighter jets from the U.S. will be successful despite opposition from Congress. He argued that the agreement is not only important for Turkey, but also for NATO as a whole.

In response, U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said Friday that Washington is committed to supporting the security apparatuses of both Turkey and Greece, another NATO member and neighbor.

Leading up to the visit, U.S. officials have also warned Turkey against launching a threatening military operation against the YPG Kurdish militant group in northern Syria, which they say could destabilize the region, jeopardizing U.S. troops and indirectly aiding the Islamic State group.

The U.S. Supreme Court is also set to hear a case involving Turkish state-owned lender, Halkbank, over money laundering and bank fraud charges related to Iran, further complicating tensions between the two countries.

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