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AMERICAS >US Secretary of State Tillerson to visit Turkey on March 30: FM Çavuşoğlu

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Turkey on March 30, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said late on March 16. 

Tillerson’s visit will be the highest level talks with a senior official from the new U.S. administration since President Donald Trump took office in January, as Ankara hopes to have better relations with the White House. 

“The U.S. Secretary of State said he wanted to come on March 30 and I told him that this would suit us in Ankara. If our prime minister is in Ankara, he will meet him,” Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster Habertürk late on March 16.

He also said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet U.S. President Donald Trump after the April 16 referendum and will meet Tillerson if possible.

A meeting of the two countries’ presidents is also under discussion, though Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will not meet until after the April 16 referendum, most probably at a NATO summit in May.

U.S. officials have reportedly informed Ankara that there are conventions such as not having private discussions with politicians from countries that are within 60 days of a national election, Erdoğan had earlier stated. 

CIA chief Mike Pompeo visited Ankara in February in his first foreign visit after Trump’s inauguration in January.

Turkey has greater hopes for Ankara-Washington ties after relations with former U.S. President Barack Obama strained, especially over Syria.

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the U.S.-led coalition’s premier partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, has been source of tension between Ankara and Washington as the letter considers further cooperation with the Syrian Kurds for a planned Raqqa operation.

Turkey is calling for an immediate end to this alliance on the grounds that the YPG is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

March/17/2017

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