Mike Pompeo Meets Mevlut Cavusoglu in Hopes of Strengthening Ties

Mevlut Cavusoglu

A host of issues between the United States and Turkey have prompted tensions between both the countries, which they have been trying to resolve. To discuss the ties between them “broadly”, the two representatives from the two countries met in Washington on November 20.

On November 17, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had announced to hold talks with the US counterpart Mike Pompeo on Tuesday for discussing several bilateral and regional issues; a meeting that lasted for 45 minutes.

In a press briefing after the meeting, Pompeo said, “We discussed on the need to work together to deescalate the conflict in Syria, support the reinvigoration of the UN-led peace process and achieve a peaceful, lasting solution to the Syrian conflict.”

This was the first time that Turkish side decided to visit US after the release of jailed pastor Andrew Brunson, which caused a tension in relations between the two NATO allies. However, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the tensing relations were not just limited to Brunson issue.

Amongst other matters, the US support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and the Gulen issue have also recently been resulting in strained US-Turkish relations.

During his meeting with Turkish citizens at Ankara’s New York consulate on Saturday, Cavusoglu had also condemned the US support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, calling it a “big mistake.”

He said, “There were two subjects that tensed the relations. One of them is the US support for YPG/PKK.”

Mentioning the second issue, the Turkish Foreign Minister also said that the US also failed to fulfill Turkey’s request for extradition of the US-based Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen, in the aftermath of July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

While both the issues were discussed in the meeting on Tuesday, the NATO allies still remain parted.

While the discussion didn’t prove to be of much help in other issues, a slight hope was seen in the matter regarding the return of a jailed executive from state-owned lender Halkbank, Hakan Atilla, to Turkey.

The US court had sentenced Atilla to 32 months in prison for backing Tehran get around US sanctions. Since the Halkbank has faced potential US fines in relation to the case.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Atilla can serve the rest of his sentence from an Iran sanctions-busting case can serve the rest of his sentence from an Iran sanctions-busting case in Turkey.

Post meeting with Pompeo, Cavusoglu told the reporters that he had discussed what steps could be taken in the case during his talks.

He said, “There is also the situation of Hakan Atilla being sent to Turkey. As part of bilateral agreements, he can serve the rest of his sentence in Turkey. We also evaluated what could be done on this issue.”

“The Halkbank case continues, as you know, at the court in New York and the Treasury. We also met with lawyers on this issue and exchanged ideas on what needs to be done and the steps to be taken,” he added.

“We discussed what we could do. On the other hand, in the process in the Treasury, it is about administrative decisions.” he further added

According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, the federal court in New York has launched a second investigation against Halkbank and is expected to submit an indictment soon.

Although the meeting between Mevlut Cavusoglu and Mike Pompeo didn’t bring any solution to the major bilateral issues yet, it cannot entirely be seen as unsuccessful. Besides, the two countries are working to resolve some other issues to improve the ties.


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